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Nairobi, Kenya: The Cry of the Poor

We thank God that he has given us a chance to live and work among the poor slum dwellers of Majengo in Nairobi. They continue to bear witness to the ever present God amidst human suffering. For now I particularly mention them for being reduced to nothing by a blazing fire a week ago.

Last Wednesday night (24th June) a fire razed a section of Gikomba market. It is a market near Shauri Moyo parish, employing thousands of people, known for second hand goods especially clothes. A number of people (many of them our parishioners) lost all they had in that fire. It affected those who sell second hand clothes and cereals. The issue of fire in Gikomba has been a recurring disaster with no end in sight.  There is always a promise that fire security will be looked into by the Government; this particular one was no different.

The bible tells us: ‘blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted’. We are not sure how many times they should cry, but the traders of Gikomba have mourned more than enough. What they still wait for is the time they will be comforted. Probably by being told who or what is the cause of the fires in the market.

With the obvious covid-19 effects, many of them have been made destitute. Many of them had very little left for sale. We do not have imports at the moment and with little money in circulation, many were depending on borrowed stocks. One lady sadly explained how she had all her 10 sacks of cereals reduced to ashes; all was on loan and still had to be paid back. She is just one example speaking for many who lost everything.

We surely have no power over the Gikomba fires, neither do we have explanations for their cause. But the cry of the poor people of Gikomba market, who year in year out have to count the loss of the work of their hands, cries out to God.

Fr. Francis Makuba mhm

Shauri Moyo

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