In many of our missions, our Missionaries are the only voice for the poor of Africa. Fr. John Aserbire, who works among some of the poorest men, women and children in the Mukuru slums in Nairobi, Kenya and the need for accessible medical care.
The slums of Mukuru are home to over 600,000 people. Most of these people left their rural homes because of poverty and came to Nairobi in hope of finding work. While some were successful, the majority of people have no skills — so they remain unemployed, uneducated and desperately poor. “The people here live in shacks made from cardboard or sheets of plastic,” Fr. John writes. “Others who are ‘better off’ have houses made from sheets of corrugated tin. Each one-room house is about ten by ten feet and has no sanitation or running water. Since there is no waste collection, most of the waste, household and other, runs directly into the nearby river. As a result, disease and bacteria-borne illnesses are rampant. That’s the depth of poverty that these people are facing.”
“There is no space for children to play. There are no recreation facilities for adults or children. Many turn to alcohol or drugs. It is a desperate struggle for survival!”
“There is a clinic run by religious Sisters who are working to make life better for the people in Mukuru who are struggling to live,” Fr. John continues. “The clinic has already set up a pharmacy as well as an intake and evaluation program for diagnosing diseases such as tuberculosis and HIV. The clinic also offers education and treatment for those who are infected. Needless to say, though, given the numbers of people they are reaching out to — the work is overwhelming and in many ways rewarding!”