By Nicholas Kristoff, Photo: Giles Clarke/The New York Times, The New York Times, January 11, 2022
Here in the Kibera slum, life sometimes seems a free-for-all. Residents steal electricity by tapping into overhead lines, children walk barefoot through alleys trickling with sewage, and people occasionally must dodge “flying toilets” — plastic bags that residents use as toilets and then dispose of by hurling them in one direction or another.
Yet this is an uplifting slum. Against all odds, Kibera is also a place of hope, and it offers a lesson in bottom-up development that the world should learn from.
The tale begins with a boy whose single mom — 15 years old when she gave birth — named him Kennedy, because she wanted him to be like an American president she had heard of. Little Kennedy Odede didn’t attend formal school, and at the age of 10 he ran away from a violent stepfather and ended up sleeping on the streets.