Dandora

With this being my fourth consecutive year traveling to Kenya, I’d thought I’d seen it all.
Then Dandora slapped me across my face, and I once again re-evaluated everything.

As we started to drive into the industrial slum area, the initial fear inside our van was palpable. The contrast of the factories behind large concrete walls intermingled with people rummaging through the endless piles of trash will be forever burned into memory.

I pull out my camera, but our driver immediately tells me to hide it from sight. In an area like this, anything of value is seen as a way to get money for food, for survival.
I hid it under a shirt, but try to capture images, as I want the world to see the people that are forgotten by society at large.

We get to an area of Dandora called Rubenkwanjega. It is from here that we must exit the van and walk to the school we need to visit. I can’t imagine there can even be a school amidst what I am seeing. We lock the van, take a deep breath, and walk the dirt path to our destination, praying for safety.

At what seems to be the end of the world, we find the Jovial Community School Centre. It is next to a black river and a cinder block bridge with a smoky scar. We ask about the river and the scar on the bridge. The headmaster of the school tells us that the factories dump their toxic waste into the river that the people in the area use to drink, bathe, wash their clothes….
A few months ago, the water caught on fire from the toxins. The whole area burned, several people burned alive. The government did nothing.

The children are so grateful for our visit. The power that comes from showing that you care for people you don’t know is indeed a powerful emotion…

and a testament of the work Build.Create.Kenya will do.

**Some pictures on this post are the property of BCK.

5 Comments

  1. That's great! I will check out the site. I'm creating a social enterprise in Kenya with one of the benefits being generating income for secondary school scholarships. I will be keen to read more about your NGO and your work in Kenya 🙂 Keep me posted when you go back!

  2. I would be too scared to go somewhere like that. Its been said before, but how can we let people live like that with everything we have in our lives?

  3. Scott BCK sounds amazing. I love what you are doing, you are inspiring! Thanks for sharing your journey over there, Dandora just left me speechless

  4. Hey Laura!
    Myself and three of my friends that having been going to Kenya with me started our own NGO called Build.Create.Kenya.

    http://www.buildcreatekenya.org

    We are focusing on non formal primary and secondary schools in the slums of Nairobi, helping them become self sufficient, successful in helping their students pass their national exams, and bring art and music programs to there schools!

    We are pretty excited. This was our founders trip to get things ready for the future.

  5. I've never heard of Dandora before and had to look it up on a map. I've been to Kariobangi which is close, but never to Dandora. It looks quite shocking. I'm heading back to Kenya (most likely) in November and can't wait to get back. Perhaps I missed it in another blog post but do you have a link to Build Create Kenya? What is it?

Wench, bring my ale, what say you?