There are no proper toilet facilities in Kibera, only latrines, holes dug into the ground. Children, mostly young boys, empty the latrines into the river, the source of Kibera’s water, for a small fee. There is approximately one latrine for every fifty shacks and most shacks house families of at least eight people.
Electricity is very scarce and inconsistent in Kibera. The majority of electricity in Kibera is stolen from Nairobi because the government refuses to install a safe and affordable means of powering Kibera. There are no streetlights; this increases security issues at night, particularly for women and girls. Many women and girls are victims of rape and abuse at night. The inability to see the perpetrators makes it almost impossible for these victims to find justice. Many unwanted pregnancies result from these rapes and also from the availability of chang’aa and the general fact that men in Kibera still do not use condoms. At any one time about fifty percent of sixteen to twenty five year old girls are pregnant in Kibera(2). These pregnancies often result in women desperately seeking unsafe abortions, often with devastating results, including permanent injury and sometimes death.
The majority of the homes in Kibera are twelve by twelve feet shacks made from mud plastered over sticks and discarded pieces of wood or mabati, corrugated tin, with dirt or cement floors. Thousands of narrow and uneven dirt pathways, sometimes only a few feet wide, separate these homes. During the rainy seasons these paths become small rivers of mud, which often combine with the open sewer systems that also run alongside many of these walkways. Irene Khan, Secretary General Amnesty International, refers to these corridors as “the arteries of Kibera.” Kibera’s arteries are clogged with every kind of garbage imaginable from plastic bags, broken glass bottles, rotting food, human waste, clothing, rubber, wood, and broken shoes. The sent of burning coal and garbage mixes with the sent of human waste and various foods to give the air throughout Kibera a constantly changing, but always pungent, smell.