13
Mar
10

God’s heart for the poor

On thursday we visited 3 mission projects in Narobi. The one I went to see was in the Korogocha slum. This is one of the poorest in the city with almost everyone unemployed.

We went to a Medical Centre who have a maternity clinic in the slums. Its like a beacon in the midst of the darknesss. We were met by the doctor who talked about how they charge very little and make a loss in order to help the mothers who come to them.

We were then taken by the mothers to their home where we talked with them about what it is like to live in the slums. The mother that Cristi from Romania and I went with was called Lilian. She had a breach delivery and the baby needed to be resuccitated. They live in a room about 8 foor by 10 foot with a stove, a bed, a sofa and very little possessions. The walls were made of mud and metal pipes. The roof was metal and there was an illegal electricity supply.

Kevin who lives with her volunteers for the Red Cross at times but one of the main ways of getting money is collecting plastic and glass from the nearby rubbish tip and selling it. I asked Lilian if she did that and she said ‘yes she leaves the baby with neighbours’.

I discovered that these people pay rent to live in the slums. This is structural exploitation. The system takes money from them and people get rich on their poverty. This is all sanctioned by the government. Olga ¬†commented ‘people should not have to live like this’ and that is a great summary of what many of us feel

My overriding feeling was initially one of surprise. People were resilient and they were surviving. The clinic offers hope in some areas and is effective in demonstrating word and deed mission. But over time this surprise turned to anger. This is a system that makes it difficult to escape from the slums. Lilian came to the slums as a 9 year old when her father died and her mum could not cope. She is now 19 living there with a 4 month old baby.

In contrast we have seen many signs for churches and there is a massive divide between the rich and poor churches. Alongside that there is the NGO’s in the area. I realise that its impossible to do everything but it’s hard to imagine living here and turning a blind eye to the injustice.

Yet I ask myself, ‘Do I do the same back home?’. What does it mean for me back in England to do something about the injustice I see around me?

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