For many years Kibera has been infamous for the so called ‘flying toilet’ – an old way of getting rid of human waste. This was specifically characterized by defecating on plastic bags and when one was done then they would go ahead and throw the bag which was mostly black in color as far as they could not regarding where they would fall or whom they would hit. Most people would throw the papers towards rivers which pass across the slum. Actually this is the main reason why most rivers in Kibera are heavily polluted with sewer waters and human waste. The tradition however came to an end as time would go by and the residents of Kibera became more civilized and they started building temporary pit latrines to help ease themselves without polluting the environment openly and also without embarrassing themselves.
The pit latrines grew in numbers and they get filled very fast because many people would use them on a daily basis. For instance one pit larine would serve approximately 60 people per day. This was becoming unhygienic as many people would get sick of cholera and other diseases based on poor sanitation.
In this digital era, the resident of Kibera can now relieve themselves without shame or embarrassments. Major public washrooms have been built by different organizations working in Kibera. For instance, one organization known as Umande Trust has built biogas centres in Kibera. There are over 7 of such centres in Kibera and mostly in Gatwekera village where majority of Kibera’s populations resides, in these centres, human waste can now be transformed to generate electric energy which can be used for lighting and cooking. The people of Kibera have embraced this digital way of making good use of the human waste. Nothing is taken for granted as the waste would decompose and later be transported in pipes to homes, mostly for cooking as pure biogas.
These biogas centres are well managed and they are very clean. One will only require 5 shillings to get access into the washrooms. The money collected from these biogas centres is used specifically to maintain the cleanliness of the premises and also pay the people who work there.
After visiting the toilets and washrooms, there’s provision of clean water and soap which the residents use to wash their hands and prevents certain infections. This is an initiative that has widely been welcomed by the slum dwellers because of unhygienic issues which Kibera is most undoubtedly infamous for are now limited, since majority of these slum dwellers find it very convenient to ease themselves inside the well maintained and clean washrooms which also has bathrooms.
More can be read on Biogas and about them here in Canada HERE
Bryan Jaybee was born and raised in Kibera slums where he still resides. He is 22 years old and a journalism student at Multimedia University of Kenya, currently in his final year. Bryan will be sharing an insider’s view on life in Kibera every Tuesday on our blog with his photos and words. You can follow Bryan on instagram at @kiberastories for daily posts on life in Kibera.
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