King of Kibera


Kibera. It is early afternoon and after a 16 km walk we have arrived in a bar. We order two beers and a pack of sweet red wine for our guide.

Due to the permanent power failure, the refrigerators do not run properly. Accordingly, the beer is lukewarm. Eric looks at us and explains his world to us: “Love me. Hate me. Help you. Leaving you alone. This is Kibera. This is life. ”We listen to his words and realize very quickly that our questions about goals and perspectives don't get very far. Our world is about success. For the future. For performance. For money. To the big issues. Most of it happens in the future. We work to enjoy our life in old age. It's always about the next moment. Eric, the "King of Kibera" I have named, smiles at us again and again. Sometimes he shakes his head. That lanky guy in his broken Manchester United shirt. Then he grins. Go back to one of his little life stories in everyday life. And we? Instead of listening, we always do the same. Compare our situation with his and find our circumstances better. We feel obliged. The opposite is the case. That makes me very thoughtful. Even now. Integrate the simple into your everyday life. An absurdity. Also four weeks later after our return trip.

Let's go back a few hours mentally. Our taxi driver lets us out at Kibera. The largest slum in East Africa. We agree that we will call her in 1.5 hours so that she can pick us up. This is definitely a place we want to get away from quickly. We are already in recording mode. Endless people. Red earth. Dust. Stink and the heat. We stop by taxi. In the middle of the crowd, this guy suddenly walks through the masses with his snow-white grin. Two sentences in Swahili and then there is clapping. I can't help commenting on Manchester United. The ice is broken. But there are actually no limits. Our lesson starts here. First we meet Brian. Photographer. He has had Obama in front of the lens. Grin wide. Photo taken. Incidentally, we are standing on the leveled area for the new road construction. Here they relocated several thousand people. Relocation in the sense of: out of sight, out of mind. Eric waves us on. We cross the train tracks that lead through the middle of the slum. So really right in the middle. Here is a dead dog. There is a mountain of rubbish. It smells like shit and the heat burns red paint on our skin. For us € 1.70 protection money is paid. Everything with a smile. The questions just burst out of me. I want to know how what I can't imagine works. Here Muslims, Jews and Christians stand in line to go to church. Racism? Eric laughs: “Take a look around here. We live on 20 liters of water a day. Per family. Do you think we can deal with kindergarten problems like racism? This is something for your world! ”With every step we learn to understand this place more. In some places we take a quick look and are amazed. Sometimes incredulous. Sometimes surprised. We are on a bridge. A pretty sight, actually. Below us the "river". A disgusting brown soup. Everything really goes in here. Your stuff flies straight from the public toilet into the river. Directly. The pigs in this broth eat the feces and are likely to hang out with the butcher later. It's been three hours now. We are calming down. The questions are fewer. We're actually just exchanging ideas. I can feel my wash cycle slowly realizing that our world is an illusory world. One person's joy is another's sorrow. A place like this could not better express such wisdom. We need steering wheel heaters, socialize on Instagram and drive the SUV to the daycare center around the corner. As long as we live like this, people will live like this here. Unfortunately, this is all related. Even if there are 9,000km in between. We are only good at ousting. Because our problems are not existential. 20 liters of water? Each of us can do it! Relaxed. We are best at justifying ourselves. "Yes, I separate my garbage. Yes, I always make sure to do something less every now and then. I try to drive less. Except when it's cold. ”We agree that we want to have another beer. My head is rolled flat. My thoughts are confused and I'm not sure which world is real right now. Babayao, Eric's nickname on the pitch, the playmaker, tells us: “Life is about the moment. We take our exams every day. Every day. Every hour. Every minute. It's all about it. Step by step. I'll just let my measly wisdom of life be launched here someday. What we did in the last 5h! have experienced. If one cannot describe a), b) is beyond imagination and at the same time c) is the most impressive thing I have ever experienced.

We agree that we'll see each other again. Tomorrow at football. FC Gor Mahia is playing. Eric's local team. As big football fans, we ask ourselves: What should come next? Just. We do not know that, yet. Tomorrow's day will let us know. The joke is: the joint football visit will round off this last weekend here in Kenya spectacularly.

Finally, we are shit here by the waitress in the Kibera. But she doesn't do it with malicious intent. It is an opportunity for them. We put the money on the table and go. In the car, our taxi driver tells us that the corrupt police relieved her of € 50. The tires are over. There is no TÜV. I look out the window and leave my perplexed look in Nairobi. But she says that it must go on, she is happy to see us and gives us tips for further evening planning.

A terrorist attack will take place here in Nairobi in two days.

  1. Sabina

    I immediately felt drawn into the story. I took the Munich subway, and yet I was right in the middle of East Africa. More stories like that, please.

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