Monday, July 29, 2013

Burning down the House

It was a sad site to see. A house that we had worked hard to build and hoped would be used for small business projects at Light and Power Center has burned to the ground.

A troubled, homeless young man requested shelter several months back and had been staying in the house at night while it continued to be used to make paper bags during the day. Unfortunately after he was asked to leave, we found the house burned to the ground. It appears to be an arson case, and we're still following up with the local chief and police.

Sadly, house burnings are not uncommon in the informal settlements. We've had cases and threats due to tribal conflict, marital quarrels, and land disputes. Burning is often a final form of protest and a reaction against perceived exploitation. Landlords in many parts of Nairobi have forfeited properties under threat of burning. At the same time, tenants all too often fall victim to oppressive absentee landlords, who may send enforcers to remove their doors or windows if they're late in paying rent.

We're glad that the blaze at Light and Power had not spread. It could have easily consumed dozens of mabati homes in the tightly packed neighborhood.

1 comment:

Rebecca said...

Hi Dave,

i Have just read this post and its soo sad.

Thankfully no one was hurt.