Escape from the slum

When you grow up in the slums (61% of people in Nairobi do), life is hard.  No job, no schooling, no future. Unemployment is high (youth around 70 %!), as is crime, alcoholism, and child prostitution. Skills and simple, I call it common sense, isn’t developed. They learn at best basic skills for a ‘profession’ – on the job training; a plumber, a carpenter, a painter. No theory, no other subjects, only a very small window of learning to paint a wall. No newspapers, often no electricity, no water, no sewer, no Internet.

The mentality of poverty it’s called. Your family and those around you are unemployed. Dad has probably left by now, your family and friends try to cope, but sit around a lot. A lot! You’re often hungry; the diet is often corn meal ugali (similar to grits, if I remember correctly) and a kind of spinach, only less nutritious. It’s cheap, but very one-sided. Meat (often chicken left-overs, chew off the bone) is a luxury. Continue reading



Lucy started at Matunda in 2011 together with her brothers. She went to school, was a good student and had a future in her last year of grade school (Kenyans have eight grades of primary school). We had just finished a course in sex education, among other relevant items for young people, and then she got pregnant at 16.

Her life changed dramatically. She didn’t go to school, as she probably was ashamed, although she didn’t say so. We got her a new uniform that would cover her growing size, but she didn’t use it. Now she’s a statistic, one of the almost 20% of teenage girls in Kenya that get pregnant. Continue reading

Anxiety in Kenya

Three people were killed again today and many injured in protests against the election board here and existing president Uhuru Kenyata. Many have been killed that since the presidential election in August.

The election was orderly and correctly done according to international observers, but it seemed they didn’t look any farther than the voting centers. What happened behind closed doors was apparently very different as the Supreme Court declared the elections void, due to gross irregularities, read fraud. Continue reading

This is what we’re doing with your money

Plastering the outside wall

The first day of building was done after planning for some time, talking to the people involved, looking at estimates, trying to trim them down somewhat and finally making the call to start.

The plumber, electrician, plasterer, and painter all made a running start and are still going strong. The plumber fixed a leaky faucet, a broken shower head pipe (someone must have been doing chin-ups on it), a gutter that was far enough away from the roof that it didn’t catch any water, and put in another water tank (for rainwater) that we had received after a year from the water company. Continue reading

The kids

It’s why we’re doing this. Every time I come here, it’s like a new experience again; the enthusiasm, those dark brown eyes and bright teeth. The feeling of the hairs on my arms and head, all trying to sit on my lap at once, the chattering in Swahili that I still don’t understand.

The bigger kids are at school all day, but drop by after school, and of course they are all there during school vacations. At the moment we have Joyce in her first year of high school, the other twelve in primary school. High school is more expensive and they have to be motivated to go, so we’ll have to see how they do on their exams, which help determine if they go to high school. Continue reading

First couple of days

My first couples of days have been eventful – and busy! Of course there are Mercy, Jesintah and the kids at Matunda, but also Alice at the house I am staying at again, and the people I have learned to know a bit along the way walking to Matunda. And the many kids with the “Hey, Mzungu” (white person), “How are you?”

We have already evaluated the building and what needs to be done on short-term repair: a leaky sink, a broken shower head, leakage on the top floor balcony, etc.

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Introduction to Matunda

Dear Family and friends,

As many of you know, Jo and I have been working on our charity Matunda Community Centre in Nairobi, Kenya, since 2009. We and our supporters have greatly improved the lives of about 25 children, ages 3 to 16, living in the slums of Nairobi.  Several are now able to attend school for the first time. They all get two meals a day, healthcare when needed, and also important, a good example of life-style choices and lots of TLC

We are grateful that many of our friends and relatives in the Netherlands support Matunda. Schools have held rallies, businesses have donated, friends have organized to collect money, and donate monthly or yearly. Some of our friends and relatives in the USA have also contributed. Continue reading

Going back to Kenya

The original building

It’s almost time to leave for Kenya – another round of trying to finish as much as possible of the building there, but just as import is trying to plan for the future. We have the three extra rooms upstairs, and need to look at what we can do with them.  Do we start a business, or have (health or other subjects) lectures, start some form of vocational school, or just rent them out.

As noted before, the World Bank paid for a sewer and water system in our area, which was to be a huge change for the better. The sewer system works like a charm, but in spite of paying a monthly fee for water, we haven’t had any for months. No one really knows why; it’s just the way it is. Continue reading

Walk for Matunda 2017 a success!

What a beautiful day!

Sunday September3 was a beautiful day; the best one all week. It was the fifth walk we’ve had, this time with almost 60 people.

The house where we hold these walks is a beautiful grand old building, with several buildings and a large garden area. Arie and Hennie live there, and are always very good hosts! WArie even had the carriage shed cleaned up for us, so we could check that one off the preparation list.

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We’re going for a walk!

We’re going for a walk!

On Sunday, September 3, we will be holding another of our annual walks in a rural area of The Netherlands.

The length will be around 12 kilometers, with the possibility of shortening it, if wanted. There will coffee and cake before leaving, and a buffet lunch when returning.

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