Kangemi is in Westlands District – Nairobi. It is a slum area with many people from different tribes, religions and cultures. The population of Kangemi is not so crowded like other slums such as Kibera and Mathare. People here are mostly businessmen who carry out small items for sale. Others are security officers in companies, teachers, workers in residential homes as gardeners, house helpers or maids. Some of them are tailors and carpenters.
Kangemi people survive through hardship. They earn very little that cannot sustain their lives properly. Most people prefer eating ugali (dish of maize flour), sukuma (leafy green vegetable), cabbage and omena (small fish) every day. Tea is a favorite drink either morning or evening hours.
In Kangemi houses are permanent and semi-permanent build using stones, iron sheets and poles/woods. The rooms are small and cannot be occupied by more than 10 people. The roads are tarmac while others are dust roads or paths.
Some people have electricity in the houses while majority use tin lamps. Some plots have tap water provided by the landlords while other people walk distances to buy water. Charcoal is used in cooking where kerosene is used in stoves, gas is very expensive in Kenya.
There are few matatus (local public transport) operating on this roads, however, only very early in the morning. For other hours, people has to go to the stage (main matatus station) next to fly-over to get the transportation. We also have moto-taxis which operate within the area throughout the day.
Communication is by mobile phones and some people have radios and TVs were they get messages from all over the country and the world.
Here there is one dispensary that works 24 hours and also some small clinics where people go when they are sick.
We have about two public schools while others are private and learning centres. We have only one children’s home (Shangilia). Most children lack education due to having nobody to take them to school and pay fees. Some have single parents while other are orphans due to their parents having died, some of them infected by HIV/AIDS. Due to lack of employment some parents are not able to pay fees and provide uniforms and books for children. This is why most children have turned to streets and have become beggars.
Security in Kangemi is not very good specially during the night. We have some people who hijack and still goods from others. So be careful while in this area.
However, one of the important things to mention here is that Kangemi is a very friendly slum.