Soccer, Hills, & Sites

Work in Kibera continues with Kounkuey Design Initiative. We spend 2-3 days each week in Kibera for meetings and surveying. Other days are spent on design work for upcoming projects. When not working, we are enjoying time in Nairobi. Last week we visited the Ngong Hills for some hiking and had a soccer match in Kibera with the Chief’s team vs. KDI staff.

School in Kibera, taken from the railroad.


Garbage dumping site along the railroad track. All recyclable materials, plastic containers, metals, glass, electronics, are sorted for resale. Pigs live in the garbage, consuming all organics. Plastic bags make up the majority of what remains.


Buckets anyone? Shopping area in Kibera. They say you can buy anything in Kibera you could find in a shopping mall.


Many households have basic access to electricity in Kibera, enough to run a few lights at least. The connections are often illegal. While renting an average sized house (10 feet x 10 feet) may cost $10-15 per month, electricity may cost $3-5 per month. Still, many households can not afford legal electricity connections. The municipality is erecting new electric utility poles throughout Kibera.


Clothes washing at a spring along the river in Kibera near KDI site 3. The river water is heavily polluted. The spring water used for washing appears to be clean.


Clay brick-making at site 3. The community is pressing bricks using a cement-water-clay mixture. The bricks will be used to construct two buildings on site, a business kiosk and multi-purpose structure.


The multi-purpose building roof going up.


Kids playing on the playground at site 3.


The Ngong Hills lie 22km outside of Nairobi, overlooking the city to the east and the Rift Valley to the west. There is a stark contrast between the two sides, with a city of 3-4 million people on one side and open space with nearly absent infrastructure on the Rift Valley side. This is Masai land.


We came upon a group of ~30 students at the top of the hills. We hiked and danced with the kids. They were much faster than the mzungus going up and down the hills.


Power generation facility at the Ngong Hills entrance.


Soccer match: Chief’s team vs.KDI team. Final score 2-2.


Joe clears the ball from the back field. The goal box littered with broken glass and the field with plastic bags and broken bottles made for an interesting match. Nobody was seriously injured.


The match was followed by congratulations, speeches, and a round of sodas in the Chief’s office. The Chief is an appointed official responsible for governing part of Kibera.


The KDI ‘football’ team.


Community Design Workshop 2 photos below. In the first design workshop on July 29 about 40 members of the community discussed what physical features and programs they would be interested in developing along the river in their community. In the second workshop on August 5 we began to lay out options for developing the site ground works based on the community’s desired physical infrastructure, including water and sanitation facility, multi-purpose structure for meetings/activities, business kiosks. After discussing the site’s buildable area and options for protecting the area from flooding, the community broke into groups to select preferred options for location of physical structures on the site. Design Workshop 3 will happen August 12, during which the community will finally select a preferred site plan that balances social, economic, and ecological desires for the site.


Site 4 in Kibera after a night of rain. During heavy rains the river water level rises by more than 5 feet. By the time we reached the site the morning after the rains the water level had dropped back to normal but much of the garbage that had been collecting around the site for the past few weeks had been washed downstream.


Boys screen the river bed for metals to recycle after the rains.

Scrap and resale business in Kibera. Tennis rackets, car stereos, jewelry, camera, old coins, all for sale.