You think you have grown grey hair and qualified to be much wiser like an old sage, but you have to lean closer to learn further simpler truths for “simple is king”-so they say!
Yesterday at the ‘Grao’
In life is a thousand alleys to cross and each step of the way leads us either far away from the people we love or closer to their warm embraces that lightens the hearts countenance.
In other occasions you stop and watch as life flows in different forms. Yesterday evening was well spent at the far end of the slum, past ‘mabatini’ as we call it here to mean iron-sheet houses or structures, in a large enough opening the size of a football pitch, its the ‘grao‘ in our localized dialect meaning playground. This space survived miraculously two years back when the clamor for housing units was at its peak
and every available inch of free space was furiously converted into housing units.
The play ground barely survived a second time as many folks we busy extracting soil to use in raising the foundations of the already standing structures only this time it almost became unusable and a major health and environmental hazard for the inhabitants of Kiambiu slums, mostly younger children roaming around in the absence of their parents. The deep gullies looked much like a mining zone and when the rains came and the gullies were all filled with water, with garbage dumped right inside the stretch and the chemistry became explosive with putrid smelly gases polluting the environment- the play ground was slowly choking away.
Thanks to Nairobi country government, the ‘grao’ is picking up a gain this time after lorry loads of sand were brought and poured here to cover the gullies, at-least the youths teams practicing and playing football here can now put a smile on their faces as they kick and follow the mad ball around in continuous circles. That’s where i was with my niece Erick , 16′ who is on holiday after they closed school two weeks ago. ‘it is much colder here as compared to our school environment’ he says. So how do you cope with the cold, i ask, ‘every other evening i come here, play football with my friends for 30minutes after which i rush back straight to shower, it’s the only way to beat the cold otherwise you end up not bathing..’ i agree for after the session i feel much warmer now.
For now the play ground lives on and continues to host Kiambiu youth football club-the home team. It will continue hosting several political meetings that are held here every time the push for votes come calling and the younger children can now run about without the danger of drowning or suffocating in dangerous garbage fumes.
One can only hope that funds will be availed to construct it into a better recreation facility some day.