Celebrating 10 Years With The Community July 25, 2011 by Carolina For Kibera
From Thomas Bwire of Kibera World Wide:
The day started with so much energy – everyone had on a smiling face that made me think of just how each person must have been feeling. Perhaps they were reflecting on the achievements gained in the last 10 years since the birth of Carolina for Kibera.
All of the children, youth, volunteers, staff and other guests waited patiently outside Carolina for Kibera’s office in Olympic Estate, preparing to kick-start the program. University of North Carolina fellows Kevin Diao, Lindsey Moore, and Duke fellow Chelsea Whittle were here as well. Our team of Kibera World Wide members is not to be forgotten, however – we were here in full force to capture the day’s activities and the emotions that would come with them. Armed with flip video cameras and still cameras, we rolled up our sleeves and quickly got to work.
Today the Olympic Estate experienced new black T-shirts that carried CFK’s logo on the front and the 10th Anniversary motto “10 Years of Collaborative Action” along with the CFK website on the back. Wearing these shirts, no one could mistake who we were.
Shortly after 10:30am the band also rolled up their sleeves and led the procession of eager guests towards the final destination – DC grounds. The blaring band music gave everyone energy to walk and many could be seen dancing to the tunes of their favorite songs. The procession walked through the Olympic shopping center, then Karanja, and finally Makina before reaching the DC ground.
Along the way some volunteers took it upon themselves to control traffic to ensure everyone’s safety. A group of young girls, leading the procession, held a white banner that read in bold, confident letters “10 Years of Collaborative Action.” Kenyan Director George Kogolla and U.S. Director Leann Bankoski were both seen enjoying themselves inside the procession with other CFK team members. One unique feature that caught my attention as I walked through the procession was some of the sexual reproductive health team who decided to wear condoms as earrings and necklaces. “This is so creative,” I mentioned to one of my male neighbors who I was walking alongside. “Oh yes!” He responded, smiling, adding that we should all carry the message of safe sex and use protection that is highly advisable for HIV/AIDS prevention.
Once at the DC grounds venue, a free jig for all was warmly welcomed. The DJ famously known here played a few traditional songs, setting the pace for the day ahead. The famous Luo song Ohangla ruled the airwaves, and this one left everyone on the free-for-all dance ground mesmerized. Next, a Kamba song that I didn’t completely understand played, but regardless, those dancing to this tune lifted one leg and held it like a guitar as they played imaginary strings.
Now the crowd had swelled as more Kibera locals joined the Carolina for Kibera community in celebrating this important day of the calendar. The security team took charge, making sure order was maintained and people didn’t cross the boundaries erected with sisal rope. The two MCs went on stage and gave welcoming remarks to all people present. Afterwards, four girls and four boys battled in a dance-off for the number one spot, dancing according to the DJ’s selection of music. The crowd served as the judges, weeding off the contestants that didn’t measure up to the high standards of the crowd, until just two were left standing – one received an “indestructible” soccer ball and the other a T-shirt.
Next, volunteers from different programs performed a play in real time of the birth of Carolina for Kibera, how Rye Barcott came to Kibera 10 years ago, and about his experience with the late Mama Tabitha, who left fond memories of her passionate heart and the passion she had to improve the health care of Kibera residents. As a result of this unlikely partnership, we now have Tabitha Medical Clinic.“I wish Mama Tabitha was here today to see the legacy she has built from humble beginnings to an institution that has now transformed the Kibera community,” I said to myself silently as the lady playing Tabitha passed away as Rye wiped tears, not knowing what to do.
The jump rope team followed on stage and showed their best rope skipping styles that left everyone happy. Armed with a flip video camera, I recorded their whole performance. I stole some time in between performances to visit a photo exhibition stand mounted in one of the white tents, where I saw great photos of achievements in the Kibera community realized over the years, well displayed on wooden stands.
A power outage brought the event to a standstill while Mark Muasa the Clinic Manager of Tabitha Medical Clinic, was reading his speech. In part of his message, he urged the residents not to hesitate in visiting the clinic to get better health care provision.
Achievements were shared by some of the volunteers whose lives have been transformed; some from being drug addicted to peer youth educators. One such person was Moses Ojwang a true inspiration to many youths around and a role model to emulate.
Kibera World Wide team member Erick Owenga secured a one-on-one interview with Rye Barcott who could not hide his joy of seeing this day a success to many generations. “I would never have thought that 10 years ago a simple idea would lead to a community initiative that would help the Kibera community realize their dreams. What we need to focus on now is how to strengthen our activities.”
“What a well spent Sunday,” I said to myself.