Cleaning up the neighborhood


As chance would have it (or it was meant to be) I met several Australians and a Kenyan who started a clean-up group for the streets in the area (Kayole Mtaa Safi – “clean up the area of Koyole”). They are working their way through the streets once a week, using shovels, rakes, pick-axes, and their hands. In the three years that they have been operating, they have grown to a large group of especially young volunteers, who have the intention to clean up “their” city.

If you see the garbage in the streets, it might seem like impossible work, but the will is there to make a difference. In the meantime, you now see more businesses cleaning in front of their shop, but also people in front of their houses. Of course it is necessary to convince the local people that it is in their interest to keep the neighborhood clean.

Inspired by these people, I started asking the local, mostly young, people if they wanted to do the same. To my surprise, the answer was unanimous, “Yes!”. Of course talking is easy, but as the will was clear, we started on a Saturday morning, and had a turnout of more than twenty people!

The chair of the group mentioned above was there with a wheelbarrow full of tools; the youth group has very few tools and no money. He was also there to motivate the group to organize and help them do that. They are enthusiastic to do so, with the idea of cleaning weekly.

Unfortunately, the collected garbage gets dumped at a local illegal site along, and in, the river. To help change this as well, we went to the Ward Administrator, who promised to help where possible. He also called the Environmental Officer, who is trying to organize a garbage truck to pick up the garbage directly after it is collected. That and possible tools would be a great help and stimulation for the group. Inspiration without support and tools can fade quickly.


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