2 Hours in Kibera, Africa’s Largest Urban Slum

20160211_Africa__ASL9530Before I departed Nairobi, I spend 2 hours in Kibera, Africa’s largest urban slum. While I was there, it was raining pretty hard. The streets, for lack of another name, flowed with mud and garbage. The smell is something I’ll never forget. It’s hard to believe that more than 2 million people live in these conditions. I hope my images will bring just a bit more exposure to the human tragedy that exists in Kibera. For me, it drives home just how blessed I am to be born in America and no matter how difficult life gets, it is nothing compared to what these people face day in and day out.
As described by Wikipedia, “Most of Kibera slum residents live in extreme poverty, earning less than $1.00 per day. Unemployment rates are high. Persons living with HIV in the slum are many, as are AIDS cases.[10] Cases of assault and rape are common. There are few schools, and most people cannot afford an education for their children. Clean water is scarce and therefore diseases caused by related poor hygiene are prevalent. A great majority of people living in the slum lack access to medical care.”

But, in spite of all that, in the short time I was there, I witnessed the human spirit.  Children at the SEED school welcoming my wife and me to break bread.  Many people having the entrepreneurial spirit to survive.  I was reminded, in many ways, of Havana.  Another place where people have close to nothing but manage to survive with great spirit and energy.  I was deeply moved and saddened at the same time.  Please share my images with as many people as you can.  Perhaps, in some small way, they will give a bit more exposure to Kibera and, in turn, bring some much needed help and humanity to its people.

Hope in the Midst of Despair

Seed School (1 of 29)During my time in the Kibera slum in Nairobi, I visited the SEED school at it’s center.  Here, children ages 5-8 are given an education and some hope of escaping the life that awaits them outside.  Padlocked for safety and built of tin, the school teaches the children english, math, reading and religion.  It is most likely the best, and possibly only, meal these children get each day.  Mary and I were given an incredible welcome with the kids singing and dancing in our honor.  It was moving to see so much hope in the middle of such despair.




First Days in Kenya

African Tree-8On Friday, my wife and I embarked on a two-week trip to Kenya.  After a 14 hour flight to Dubai with a 5-hour layover and finally 5 more hours to Nairobi, we arrived exhausted to our hotel.  My first impression of Nairobi was a general feeling of lockdown.  All the buildings seemed to be behind fortresses of walls and razor wire.  We were greeted at the hotel by an armed guard searching the vehicle.  Upon entering the lobby, we had to run our luggage through x-ray.  Personally, I didn’t mind.

Day one started with a 5 hour grueling drive to Amboseli National Park.  Here lives the largest number of African Giant Elephants in the world.  Each day we headed out a sunrise, returned for a rest during the middle of the day and then went out for late afternoon light.  Our driver was excellent and very patient as I directed him to move 50 meters this way, 20 meters forward, etc.

One evening, we heard through the CB (yes, CB) that there was a lioness about 5 miles away.  We arrived to find her sound asleep with two cubs hiding in the grass behind.  We waited over 2 hours for her to wake up, hoping she would go out looking for food or that the cubs would emerge from the grass to frolic in the evening sun.  Well, she rolled over a couple of times, yawned and continued her slumber even as a herd of elephants approached in the distance.  Once they caught her scent, they veered away and she continued to sleep.  As the sun was setting, I asked the driver to race towards a tree that I had seen earlier in the day which I caught backlit by the beautiful sunset.

On the third and final morning, we set out at early light.  There was much more activity.  As the sun rose, I caught three lions drinking at the side of the road.  A beautiful lion wandered across the plains as elephants grazed.  I saw wildebeests grazing under a lone tree as an elephant approached.  It was a gorgeous morning.

Below are a few of the images from these early days.  I took over 1800 photos and haven’t looked at but a few, but these were shots that I knew as I took them, I would like.  Most of these were shot with my Nikon  D7100 and Nikon 200-400mm f/4.  I bought the D7100 just for this trip as the cropped sensor gives me a 1.5 additional reach which I needed.

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