Nairobi's Gut-Wrenching Inequality


You see them a few metres outside TRM, a shopping mall along Thika Road and a symbol of the new Kenya: urban regeneration, inflated property prices and an embrace of all things foreign. But they are there, the old Kenya of poverty, destitution and unemployment. I’m talking about street families.

Every night, less than 50 metres away from the mall, in the warm glow of the streetlights brought about by all the new property, they create a makeshift house of joined-up plastic paper bags against the wall. The paper bag house is usually gone when morning comes, but there is always a flickering light inside at night.

They settle down for the grim nights when it is dry, but I don’t know where they go when it rains and the winds howl. They are mainly young, and all boys. And they have a dog.