Dilemma of Choosing Between Life and Livelihood

A visit to Nairobi’s Dandora slum, on one chilly morning, lead Buckner Nairobi Family Hope Centre case managers into long, hectic walks, forcing them to pass through several secret routes and jump over countless, filthy, wide trenches, polluted with polythene bags and waste products from different parts of the city, in search for a lasting solution for most vulnerable families residing in this part of the county.


The case managers placed their best foot forward and played the role of social entrepreneurs, offering the most sustainable channels for creating a long-lasting impact. It is here that they first interacted with Janet Nduko, a single mother of two boys, residing in an old, single-roomed story building, whose exterior had gone to ruin for lack of upkeep.


Underneath the broken windows, peeled paint, and rotting siding, was a bed, kitchen area, and living room, situated under one roof, leaving no room for someone to relax comfortably.


The announcement of the first COVID-19 case in Kenya and the stringent measures put in place by the government left Janet in limbo, on choosing between life and livelihood. She lost her full-time job and found refuge in doing laundry for her neighbors, generating as little as Kshs. 400 (4 dollars) on lucky days.


The pandemic forced her to live from hand to mouth, with the closure of schools, and initiated dusk to dawn curfew placing a hot nail on her fresh wound. Her children eat one meal a day and would go to bed on an empty stomach since she earned peanuts.


“This pandemic has changed my life to the worst, I survive with the little I get from good wishers and might at most times prepare porridge for my children as their daily meal,” said Janet, further stating that “ It hurts me when I see my children crying for food while tugging on my cloth, yet I have nothing to offer,”


Buckner Kenya heed to her plea and offered her facemasks and manna packs to ensure that her family stays healthy, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Her children can comfortably wear a smile on their face and play around with their agemates, since they now have facemasks, an essential that they couldn’t afford.


“I am grateful to Buckner Kenya for providing me with facemasks and food. The manna packs have immensely contributed to the growth of my children during this tough time,” concluded Janet.


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