Jambo! It’s more or less the equivalent of “Hey, what’s up? How are you?” It’s most often delivered with gusto and a warm, friendly smile. It was the greeting heard most often during 8 days spent experiencing a side of Nairobi, Kenya most tourists probably never see.
How did I end up in Nairobi? The Bozeman, Montana-based company The HabiHut invited me to join their team to document the unveiling of a new product: a GE Solar Powered Water Kiosk station. What exactly is it and what does that mean?
The kiosk is a lightweight, modular, portable structure which houses a new GEdesigned water filtration system. As a journalist and a woman, I was instantly intrigued by this new concept, because the goal is to install HabiHut kiosks in locations throughout Nairobi and eventually across Kenya. The kiosk provides residents access to a manual pumping and filtration system which can offer clean, safe drinking water.
Day one in Nairobi, a thriving modern city with skyscrapers, technology and development, quickly became an assault on my senses. Our driver snaked his way through one of the cities wealthiest communities, filled with oversized mansions and curved driveways. We then came to an unpaved, muddy road tucked between two large brick walls topped with barbed-wire fencing. Smack dab in the heart of wealth, the dirt road opened up into one of the cities known slums, KAWANGWARE.
Thousands of people call the area home. But not home like we think of home. We found small, cramped shelters devised from sheets of corrugated metal held together with wire. In other cases, dwellings were splintered wood topped with make-shift roofs. There is no solid flooring; simply clay, mud and dirt. Garbage and debris clutters the area and clogs the nearby creek. There is no electricity and the few sources of water trickle in from old, cracked and often contaminated pipes. Imagine paying to have access to unclean water?
It is difficult to comprehend that in our day in age, in a world with such wealth, that individuals live in such squalid conditions.
Water. Clean, SAFE water. Aresource and commodity we here in the United States take as a given. The HabiHut is now like a beacon of hope. In Kawangware women are being trained how to filter the water and create their own water-selling businesses.
Clean water and economic empowerment for the women! And the water? It’s just one piece of the puzzle! Stay tuned…
A multiple Emmy Award winning Anchor and Reporter, Julia Yarbough is a national blogger, motivational speaker, hostess, travel addict and health & fitness enthusiast. To follow Julia’s quirky new reality of life as she continues to navigate the sometimes rocky road of relationships, check out www.highwaytoahusband.com. Julia can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org for press and booking inquiries.