Friday, January 18, 2013

A Day in the Life of an African Slum

Slums are some of the saddest places in the world to see. It's amazing that so many people have to live there lives like that. In case you didn't know, a slum is basically a town accompanied by extreme poverty, usually in a Third World Country, with high disease rates and other factors. My wife and I moved to Kenya almost 5 months ago. In that time we have seen many places and have developed friendships with many people living in the slums. I want to write out what a typical day and living conditions for them is like.

Most people that live in the slums around here are living in a 9X9 ft. house made of mud. In other words, their entire house is smaller than my bedroom. The house is usually divided into 2 sections; One room is for the bed, and the other is the "living area." These houses only have one bed in it. Also, the average size of the family living in a slum is about 7 people. So you do the math. This means that most of the children are forced to sleep on the floor, which you guessed it, is just a dirt floor. These houses have no electricity and no running water. All of the meals are cooked over an open fire in the living room. They get light from purchasing a cheap kerosene lamp in town. In order to do laundry or shower, they have to walk down to the river. Depending on where in the slum you live, this can be a very long trip. You see people walking around drunk all the time, trying to drown their sorrows. You see children walking around in ripped "hand me down" clothing, and no shoes. People just walk up and down the street with obvious sorrow and hopelessness on their faces.

As for what daily living is like for them, I will use an example from one of our workers at the orphanage I work and live at. This person has to wake up at 5:30 every morning get ready and eat breakfast. Since she has no car, she has to walk or take public transport to get to work. It takes this person an hour and a half to get to work every day. She works from 8:30-4:30, and after that travels back to her house which is an hour and a half back also. Once she gets back home, she has children to feed. This means she has to build a fire and start cooking dinner which is a very long process. People over here usually eat supper very late, so that children won't go to bed hungry. After this the family spends some time together, and then go to bed.

By the way, the lady I described above, she is a lucky one. She has a job. Most people living in the slums are unemployed. The men spend their days wandering around trying to find any type of work to do for money, and they are mostly unsuccessful. These people don't know how they are going to feed their children, pay their school fees, or make rent. Life seems hopeless for most these families.

Please join my wife and I in praying for the slums in Africa and around the world to be transformed by the power of God working through ordinary people like yourself.

No comments:

Post a Comment