New feature by Sahar Sarshar for Voice of America

  A Farsi version of this feature will be airing on VOA’s Farsi channel for Iranian viewers this week. Thanks to Sahar Sarshar!!!

Screening of Documentary Tomorrow!

Hey DC people! Tomorrow, Fri. May 31st, I’ll be heading to DC to screen the new documentary “My Tribe is Kenya,” about our project in the Kibera slum of Nairobi, Kenya earlier this year. The screening will take place at one of my favorite DC spots, BloomBars in Columbia Heights on 11th and Kenyan NW. The doc is only half an hour long so…

Kibera Walls for Peace on NPR!!

We were so excited to learn that our youth arts project for peace has been featured on Morning Addition on NPR (National Public Radio). Click on the link to for audio and written coverage as well as some great pics… http://www.npr.org/2013/02/19/171916072/kenyas-graffiti-train-seeks-to-promote-a-peaceful-election

Robbed by the cops!

It began as a typical Saturday night out in Nairobi: friends, drinks, and lots of dancing in a hot, packed club. At around 3am three of my Kenyan friends and I left in good spirits, but as we walked down the gritty streets of downtown, three plain-clothes police officers approached us and asked for ID. The police here in Kenya have a terrible reputation….

The Peace Train!

On Sunday we got up early to head to the Nairobi’s train terminal for a historic happening; the Kibera Walls for Peace team was partnering with many of Nairobi’s best graffiti artists to create a HUGE peace mural along the entire side of a 10-car commuter train, which stops in Kibera and many other communities every day. The artwork features messages of peace for…

Inaugural Event for the Kibera Walls for Peace

This was a big weekend for the Kibera Walls for Peace Project! It began with our huge inaugural event on Saturday afternoon and evening. We rented a big stage and tents, and the crowd enjoyed musical performances by local musical artists, dance competitions, refreshments, and speeches about the project and about peace for the election. The Kibera Hamlets youth spoke about the project and…

About Kibera Walls for Peace: Nairobi, Kenya

The “Kibera Walls for Peace” youth public art project aims to encourage unity and cooperation between ethnic and political groups ahead of Kenya’s presidential election scheduled for March, 2013. Kibera, one of Africa’s largest slums, was strongly affected by the violence and political turmoil that engulfed Kenya after the last election, and preventing a repeat of this crisis is the our main objective. (Click…

Life in Kibera

Being here in Kibera has been an eye-opening experience for me. I have spent a great deal of time in marginalized communities in the past, especially in the favela (slum) Cidade de Deus(City of God) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Kibera’s slums are on another level; in fact, most favelas in Brazil would not even be considered slums in Kenya due to their paved roads, brick houses…

First Mural Complete!

Here it is, the completed first mural! “Kabila langu ni mKenya” — “my tribe is Kenya”— is a call to unity in the face of the tribal divisions that have become much more intense during this election period. (see my post on tribalism below.) After coming up with the design during workshops with the children and teens, we cleaned off the wall and painted…

Focus on Tribalism

As we gear up for our second week of Kibera Walls for Peace, the youth have identified several topics that they would like to focus on for the murals. The first of these is tribalism, an important factor in the violence that erupted after the last presidential election. Tribalism refers to politics that focus on the division between tribes rather than ideological divisions that…

The Dilemma of the Slum

In societies that have large populations living in slums such as Brazil and Kenya, it is often asked what should be done about them. There are many who advocate for bulldozing shacks and putting everyone in modern apartment buildings. This solution is unrealistic, expensive and is not in the best interest of residents. From my window here in Kibera I can see an example…