There’s no place like home, right? At home is where we are our true selves. We kick off the shoes filled with the dust from our daily hustles, get to wash away our fatigue and even open a bottle of wine (or drown a flask of tea) and be. Home is this mystical place where even when things aren’t alright, you know deep down they will be because that’s just what home is.
For me, Nairobi has always been home. Yes I have been raised in the village and have spent many a time on the road lusting for adventure, but there’s always a deep ache in my heart whenever I stay away for too long and whenever I get back, she embraces me; reminding me there’s nowhere else I’d rather be. But for far too long, Nairobi hasn’t been home to me and millions of other people.
Our former green city in the sun has for the past several years been a hub for pollution, deterioration of infrastructure and a myriad of pathetic sewerage systems that have put the great name of Nairobi to shame. The number of garbage piles in the city seem to have multiplied by number and housing systems which keep appearing every day in our skyline have a death wish stamped on them because most of the engineers and contractors assigned to work on these houses do their work so hurriedly and poorly that the lives of all who stay in those houses are at risk.
How many times have you wished for Nairobi’s former glory to be restored? How many times have you wished that you would not waste precious hours of your day in traffic? Are you tired of jumping over pools of sewage every day as you go to work? And how many times have you gone to Nairobi’s CBD hoping for just a few minutes of fresh air, peace and order?
I’m tired of Nairobi not being home anymore but it’s not too late. We can still rectify the wrongs done to our city and we still have time to make Nairobi great again.
This can be done through working together. By involving communities becoming involved in problem-solving and decision making in development issues, we take a step closer to solving the stalemate that the city is facing. I mean, how hard would it be to involve guys in different forms of garbage collection and eventual recycling methods? Instead of rushing to throw away the bottles of water & soda that we drink every day, why not create a system that would ensure the recycling of these plastics? With this, we can be assured of decreased sewerage problems as plastics are the number one factor in causing blockage and drainage.
Individuals and organizations should also come together and use innovative solutions to address the current housing-related challenges. We all have the right to live in safe and affordable houses without the fear of them falling down on us during the night as we sleep. Also, the state of informal settlements springing up everywhere needs to be addressed. Kibera, the largest slum in the world, has the capacity to become more than just a dirty and cramped up slum. Some time back, the government had started building tangible and affordable housing communities for the people in Kibera. The project was to help the residents of the area not only get affordable housing with access to clean water and sanitation facilities, it was also a way to give these residents a better life, one which they are still hoping to get.
The state of our city is deplorable and we are the nexus of change that needs to steer our city and nation to a place where we can call home again.
Mji Wetu is an initiative of Tatu City that is set on championing for healthier cities, cleaner air, better infrastructure and the overall quality of life for Kenyans. The initiative which cuts across factors like demographics aims at building an all-inclusive nation, one that will involve the community in restoring our country’s glory.
This will be done through demand driven plans in reducing waste, creating employment opportunities for thousands of young people and fostering national development. Run under the campaign #MjiWetu on social media platforms, people are encouraged to participate in sharing stories and pictures of how the current state of Nairobi’s infrastructure has affected their lifestyles here in the hope of finding a lasting solution to the menace. One also stands a chance of winning Kshs 15,000 for the most creative submissions.
See, the truly magical thing about home is that it feels good to leave, but it feels even better to come back. We need to be able to once again proudly say that ‘I live in Nairobi’. Let’s do this for our city, our home.