"My children need to start school but we're stuck in the camp"

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Angela, in her thirties, who did not wish to be identified, was born in the vast slum of Kibera in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, and has lived there all her life. Today, however, she is one of an estimated 2,400 people living in the city's Jamhuri Park, where she fled during violence in Kibera after the 27 December elections.

"I live in the Gatwekera area of Kibera, which is mainly occupied by the Luo ethnic community, but I am Kikuyu. On the day Mwai Kibaki [also Kikuyu] was declared the winner of the election, there was so much violence in Kibera that I had to run away. It was so bad that I got separated from my husband and two children and ended up seeking shelter at a nearby police station for a few days.

"After about five days my family located each other and we came to Jamhuri, where we have been given food, blankets and safety.

"When I had to run away, I became so concerned about my health; I am HIV-positive and I usually attend the MSF [Médecins Sans Frontières] clinic in Gatwekera; I collect a monthly dose of anti-retrovirals from them. By the time I reached here I had only two days' worth of pills with me.

"Thankfully, when I reached here I found that MSF had set up a centre in Jamhuri so I have received my next month's dose. Of course the food we get here is not enough because the drugs make me so hungry … but it's better than nothing.

"My biggest worry now is my children. Schools have started but I am too scared to send them back to school in Kibera. My oldest child has finished primary school and is meant to start secondary school now, but I have no money to send him to school and don't even know where I would send him.

"We're stuck here for now, with no money and no idea what the future holds; I don't know if we'll ever be able to return to Gatwekera."

Source: IRIN