Kenya Diaries: Gioto Garbage Slum

3

This June, I traveled to Kenya for a three-week volunteering stint, and took my Canon EOS 630 – and many, many rolls of film – along with me. This article is the first of a series of installments intended to document all I saw and experienced during my time there.

Volunteering with an international organization, I had the opportunity to see many things along the way; some sights were utterly beautiful and inspiring, while others – like the slum I am going to talk about in a moment – were truly heartbreaking.

Gioto Garbage Slum is situated in the town of Nakuru, a few hours away from Nairobi, the capital city of Kenya. It is home to approximately 150 families, all of whom live amongst piles of rubbish brought by dozens of large trucks everyday.

Little girl from the slum sitting amongst the rubbish.

Upon entering the slum the stench of stale rubbish hit me almost immediately, and dozens of flies swarmed around my head. We (myself and the other volunteers) got to visit the “houses” the families live in, which are constructed entirely of scrap material found from the rubbish dump, and which do not have electricity or running water. I learned that 55% of the population is infected with HIV/AIDS, that the Kenyan government routinely kicks the residents out of the landfill, leaving them to fend for themselves, and that the main source of food consists of whatever the people can scrounge from the rubbish dumped at the landfill. I heard the story of a 15 year old girl, pregnant for the third time after being raped by men from the slum.

Pigs at the garbage slum; residents often have to compete with animals for food from the rubbish

Despite their adverse living conditions, the residents of the slum are doing some remarkable things – for example, a group of ladies have banded together to produce a series of bags for sale (all entirely made from recycled rubbish as well). There are also other ladies selling handmade necklaces, bracelets and earrings. It was extremely inspiring to see how waste could be transformed into such beautiful things.

Credits: muddymire
A lady selling jewellery. She made her own matching hat and hip bag as well, which was amazing!

The residents were also extremely warm and welcoming – after receiving the butter and flour we had brought to distribute to them, the chief of the village led everyone in a traditional African dance of thanks and gratitude. Overall, the expedition to the slum served as a poignant reminder to me to be grateful for all the little things I have in life that I normally take for granted (like cooked food and hot showers!!!), and all in all, I am really glad I got the opportunity to go there.

Credits: muddymire

As a last note – there is currently an ongoing project started by volunteers, dedicated to improving the lives of the people at the garbage slum. If you are by any chance interested in learning more/donating/sponsoring a child, please visit the following website: http://garbageslum.org

Credits: muddymire

Stay tuned for part two of my amazing Kenya adventure!!

written by muddymire on 2011-07-24 in #lifestyle #kodak-portra-160vc #poverty #slum #35mm #kenya #africa #normal-processing #lomography #analogue-lifestyle

3 Comments

  1. liisachisholm
    liisachisholm ·

    beautiful story, photographs, and experience!

  2. jazid46
    jazid46 ·

    Cool!

  3. lilymae93
    lilymae93 ·

    beautiful beautiful

More Interesting Articles

  • My Year in Analogue: A Visual Diary

    written by jadeberryphotography on 2014-12-23 in #lifestyle
    My Year in Analogue: A Visual Diary

    Every year I get the winter blues. I start imagining the feel of the sunrays, ice cold beer after a long summer day, and the endless hours spent on the beach. I have captured moments, memories, and dreams this year, which is my favorite thing to do. This is a short version and visual diary of my year 2014.

  • Villa Epecuén, The Lost City

    written by carlos_rc on 2014-10-14 in #world #locations
    Villa Epecuén, The Lost City

    On a cold day in August, I took my LC-A+, Nikon FM, and Canon EOS 500, along with rolls of Lomography Earl Grey 100 and Kodak Vision 250D on a trip to Villa Epecuén in the Province of Buenos Aires, approximately 550 kilometers (341 miles) away from home.

    5
  • Pushing Boundaries: Multiple Exposing Film Soup

    written by Amber Valentine on 2015-04-21 in #world #tipster
    Pushing Boundaries: Multiple Exposing Film Soup

    As you may have read in my previous article, I truly fell in love with Lomography when I combined my Fisheye camera with an old Canon AE-1 for magical photographic results. Last summer, I took so many pictures of flowers that it started to become almost boring for me. My waning interest and the coming winter meant that I had to figure out something else to do with my 35mm film.

    1
  • Shop News

    Fisheye No. 2 Gold

    Fisheye No. 2 Gold

    Snap dazzling 35mm fisheye shots at the push of a button with this shimmery blue lightweight beauty.

  • Summer Hot Spots: A Morning Sunbath in Varazze

    written by sirio174 on 2014-08-01 in #world #locations
    Summer Hot Spots: A Morning Sunbath in Varazze

    This is the story of my first adventure on the beach this year. In the middle of June, I took my first sunbath along the seaside on a small public beach in Varazze - a rather small and unkempt place which I will never return to in the future. Read more to find out why!

  • Summer Hot Spots: Escaping the Heat at Cameron Highlands

    written by shind on 2014-07-03 in #world #locations
    Summer Hot Spots: Escaping the Heat at Cameron Highlands

    It’s normal during summer to be out there at the beach, sunbathing and getting yourself a nice tan, but in Malaysia, it could get pretty hot this time of the year. With the rising temperature, my friends and I decided to escape the heat of the city for a while and took an approximately three-hour drive to Cameron Highlands.

    1
  • Happenings on Film: The Festival of the Hands in Como

    written by sirio174 on 2014-09-22 in #lifestyle
    Happenings on Film: The Festival of the Hands in Como

    Last Saturday my city, Como, hosted a festival dedicated to the hands called the Mani-Fest. With my lovely Minox GT-S camera and an expired 3200 ISO film roll, I documented this event which took place just below the windows of my room. Take a look after the jump!

  • Shop News

    Try the LomoLAB Development Service!

    Try the LomoLAB Development Service!

    Whatever kind of film development you're after, you'll find it here! Now you can confidently shoot from the hip without having to worry where to develop those film rolls!

  • Summer Hot Spots: Blaavand, Denmark (Part One)

    written by dermanu on 2014-08-31 in #world #locations
    Summer Hot Spots: Blaavand, Denmark (Part One)

    When I was a child, I regularly went to Blaavand located at the Danish west coast with my brothers and my parents. However, I didn't anymore when I grew up. But in 2012, we hit the road again. It was my first visit there in about 20 years. I took the chance and packed as many cameras as possible into my luggage. In this article, I'm going to present to you the photos I took with my Nikon F-501 SLR.

  • Two Days and One Night in Vibrant Sapa

    written by choidaehan on 2015-05-13 in #world #lifestyle #locations
    Two Days and One Night in Vibrant Sapa

    For three months last year, I traveled to 11 cities of eight Southeast Asian countries. My first destination from my hometown of Seoul was Vietnam. After 10 days in Hanoi, I joined a group tour to Sapa, an area known for its hill tribes. This is a photo story of my two days and one night in this remote but vibrant place.

    1
  • Happenings on Film: The Lake Como Expo Night 2015

    written by sirio174 on 2015-06-22 in #world #events
    Happenings on Film: The Lake Como Expo Night 2015

    This article is the first one that I want to dedicate to the Expo 2015. A month ago, my city Como hosted a night spectacular preceding the opening of the Universal Exposition in Milan. With my Praktica and color film, I documented this joyful, artistic event.

    1
  • Shop News

    Horizon and DigitaLIZA Bundle

    Horizon and DigitaLIZA Bundle

    The Horizon and DigitaLIZA Bundle lets you mix and match your favorite Horizon Camera, Lomography 35mm film and DigitaLIZA 35mm

  • Fresh from the Lab: Hari Raya Portraits

    written by adi_totp on 2014-08-10 in #lifestyle
    Fresh from the Lab: Hari Raya Portraits

    A couple of weeks ago, my family and I celebrated Hari Raya after a month of fasting during the holy month of Ramadan. Since the first day I laid my hands on the Lubitel 166+, I've always had the thought of taking portraits of my family. So this year, I finally took them. Here they are: Hari Raya Portraits!

    8
  • A Salute to the Masters: Barkers (A Tribute to Jack Delano)

    written by sirio174 on 2015-05-02 in #world #lifestyle
    A Salute to the Masters: Barkers (A Tribute to Jack Delano)

    This is tribute to the Farm Security Administration photographer, Jack Delano, and his photographic series dedicated to barkers. For this article, I chose a series of photos I took this year at the traditional Easter Fair in my city, Como, using a classic rangefinder camera loaded with a roll of black and white film.

    2
  • The Lomography XPro Slide 200 Film and My Holga: An In-Depth Review

    written by Lorraine Healy on 2015-03-23 in #gear #reviews
    The Lomography XPro Slide 200 Film and My Holga: An In-Depth Review

    An Argentinean writer and photographer living in the Pacific Northwest, Lorraine Healy is a long-time fan of plastic cameras and is the author of "Tricks With A Plastic Wonder," a manual for achieving better results with a Holga camera, available in eBook form at Amazon.com. In this article, Healy explains how she fell hard in love with the Lomography XPro Slide 200 film and why she takes it on her many travels.

    3