Posted 1 year ago

Kibera Walls for Peace youth arts project; Nairobi, Kenya. With my friends N’gesh and Mathew

Posted 1 year ago

Kibera Walls for Peace youth arts project: Nairobi, Kenya. Resisting the desires of corrupt leaders (hyenas) is key to cultivating peace.

Posted 1 year ago

Kibera Walls for Peace youth arts project, Nairobi, Kenya. Lion with kids’ poetry

Posted 1 year ago

Nairobi train art! Kibera Walls for Peace youth arts project in collab with local artists, Nairobi Kenya. This one features Swift and UhuruB

Posted 1 year ago

Nairobi train art! Kibera Walls for Peace youth arts project in collab with local graffiti artists.

Posted 1 year ago

Taking a break in the coastal city of Mombasa, Kenya. The coast is the heartland of Swahili culture and language, formed when Arab traders mixed with local Bantu peoples over a thousand years ago.

Posted 1 year ago

Mombasa

This week Kibera Hamlets director John Adoli and I have been spending some time in the coastal city of Mombasa. The organization has a center here called Mombasa Hamlets that works to save street youth from a life of addiction, violence and instability by providing rehabilitation services, housing and access to education opportunities.

 

Kenya’s coast is the heartland of Swahili culture and language, which came about when Arab traders mixed with local Bantu peoples beginning over a thousand years ago. In contrast to the more Western vibe of Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, Mombasa feels very Eastern, with a majority Muslim population that is diverse in skin color and other physical characteristics due to the variety of ethnicities that have made this region their home. The beaches are beautiful, the weather very hot, and there’s a big party scene here, making Mombasa one of top spots to visit for foreigners as well as Kenyans. —Joel B

Posted 1 year ago
Posted 1 year ago

Kibera Walls for Peace: Nairobi, Kenya. This latest piece advocates for the youth’s role in uplifting their community. This is especially important during this election season, as last time politicians used teenagers as pawns, paying them to riot and fight rival ethnic communities.

Posted 1 year ago

It began as a typical Saturday night out in Nairobi: friends, drinks, and lots of dancing in a hot, packed club. At around 3am three of my Kenyan friends and I left in good spirits, but as we walked down the gritty streets of downtown, three plain-clothes police officers approached us and asked for ID.

The police here in Kenya have a terrible reputation. Universally hated for their corruption and violence, their main objective is making money any way they can, with no regard for upholding the laws of the land. These three were no different; if a Hollywood movie director wanted to script some sleazy gangster cops these guys would be perfect for the role. The leader of the pack, who said he was an inspector, had droopy eyes and smelled of hard liquor. He informed me that since I only had a regular ID but no passport on me, I was under arrest and promptly slapped handcuffs on my wrist. My friends pleaded with the cops as they led me down the street, supposedly to the police station. We all knew they had no intention of taking me in. This was a robbery, not an arrest, and the only question was how much we would have to pay.

As they led me down the street for an hour, they arrested several more men along the way as my friends tried to work out a deal with them. Luckily, I’m not the type to freak out in these situations, and I kept my spirits up by reminding myself that this would make a good story later on. To give you an idea of just how sleazy these officers were, the inspector with the droopy eyes actually told one of my female friends that if she had sex with him right there and then he would let me go! She refused, and eventually we came to a deal with them for the amount we had collectively, 3,000 shillings (around US$35), and they let me go.

While this incident was just a bump in the road for me, it is much more serious for the thousands of Kenyans who are robbed by corrupt officers every day. Those who can’t pay are hauled off to jail, often for doing nothing wrong, and made to pay huge fines. You can imagine how this must affect impoverished families who have to pay their food and rent money just to pay off a crooked officer. Corruption is rampant at every level of Kenyan society, up to the highest politicians and businessmen, as it is in most developing countries. This is one of the most serious challenges to realizing the dreams of ordinary families, including education and job opportunities, better health care and security.

—Joel B

Posted 1 year ago

Kibera Walls for Peace inaugural event: the kids amazed the crowd with their acrobat performance!!

Posted 1 year ago

Nairobi Train Art! Kibera Walls for Peace youth arts project; joelB + local graf artists

Posted 1 year ago

Kibera Walls for Peace train art!! read the post below for all the info…

Posted 1 year ago

                                              The Peace Train!

On Sunday we got up early to head to the Nairobi’s train terminal for a historic happening; the Kibera Walls for Peace team was partnering with many of Nairobi’s best graffiti artists to create a HUGE peace mural along the entire side of a 10-car commuter train, which stops in Kibera and many other communities every day. The artwork features messages of peace for the upcoming election. The main phrase, “Tuwache Ukabila, Tuwache Ubaguzi, Tuishi Kwa Amani” was taken from one of our students’ poems, and roughly translates to “down with tribalism, down with prejudice, up with peace.” We got some great press coverage, including Al Jazeera English, NPR and several local media outlets.

On Monday, the 19th century train rolled out in public with a brand new look! Crowds were amazed all over Nairobi as they witnessed the spectacle and absorbed the messages. We all waited excitedly to see it in Kibera, a community where the train is an icon since it cuts right through the slum. The artwork was especially significant here, as the post-election violence of 2007 engulfed Kibera and rioters tore up the train tracks. The train authority is interested in having us paint many more trains, including those that go across the country, so we’re searching for sponsors to make this a reality! The goal of painting the trains is to bring attention for our ideals of peace for the election, and to show Kenyans that the youth are invested in this ideal and working hard for it.  –Joel B

Posted 1 year ago

Kibera Hamlets kids performing on stage at the Kibera Walls for Peace inaugural event. We got a great crowd!