KATE IN NAIROBI

"I joined Ghetto Foundation NGO to help salvage our settlement in Mathare.

The main issues we normally have are water shortage, sanitation and most of all; extrajudicial killings.

 

You would think that people are now being killed due to the pandemic, we especially lost a lot of youth. We don’t think that Corona is killing a lot, but the police are."

"A lot of my friends have died due to the extrajudicial killings by the police. Most of them were innocent.

 

In Mathare they mostly profile by clothes; if you wear a certain pair of jeans or shoes, they know you’re a thief and you end up being dead.

 

Last week we lost a young man who was shot by the police just because he was outside during curfew."

"One woman complained that she was beaten up by her husband and she wanted to report to the police, during curfew hours. She was caught by the police patrolling during curfew and before she explained to them what was going on, she was already beaten by them.

 

It’s so sad; those people are supposed to protect you and they’re the ones beating you up."

"So people think 'if I did not die of cholera I can’t die of corona, this is just a flu that we’re used to'. This is not even a big issue to us, because we’ve seen a lot of big things happening.

 

People have died mostly because of cholera and the government has done nothing to fix the water issues.

 

The government will make sure that the taps do not run right."

"In Kenya, if you don’t demonstrate, if you don’t protest, the government won’t do anything.

 

When you do something they are like 'Who’s that? Why are they doing this?' Because I live in a settlement and it's so hard for us. I feel like if I’m not a part of the protest, I’m not part of my community. I need to show my solidarity and that I know what you’re going through.

 

We are together in this and

we will win this fight."

"You can’t imagine living in a settlement without running water and then telling people to wash their hands. You’re not giving us water but you want us to wash our hands!

 

This is bringing a lot of challenges to our community because as you know most of our houses are too small, sometimes there’s a family of 10 living in one room. So telling people to social distance is a real challenge."

"Many people don’t want to report that because they know how our system works, you’ll be arrested for reporting. Sometimes you get beaten and you’ll be like 'no, it’s okay, I’ll just get used to it.'"

"Whenever we ask kids what they want to be when they grow up: Do you want to be a policeman?

 

'No, I don’t like killing people.'

 

A lot of the people being killed are under age, they’re like 14 or 16. They’re killing a whole generation. Whenever I see police around, I feel like somebody’s life is going to be taken."

"A mask costs 100 shillings. They don’t have anything to eat so how are they going to afford to buy a mask?

 

You tell people to wash their hands with no water and tell them to wear a mask and not give them any?"

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