"Slum? What is the first image that comes to mind when you hear this word? Probably a squalid and overcrowded urban district inhabited by very poor people. Probably that is what Google tells us about. What about the people that live in slums? Have you ever had the curiosity to meet them? Have you ever wanted to get to know the way they think? Sadly they are the most unfortunate people in the world. Maybe they are able to teach us the biggest lessons of life we cannot imagine. So I decided to come and meet these people, to see their life style, to offer them a small amount of help that I was capable of giving. Kibera is the largest slum in Nairobi, and the largest urban slum in Africa. So, I decided that this is the slum I want to come and to offer help by volunteering.
I am not sure what I had in mind when I applied and got accepted by UCESCO to volunteer in Nairobi, but I am certainly sure that it is the best decision I have ever made.
During the days we were in Nairobi, I wanted to volunteer as a dentist in Kibera, and we decided that KIBERA HUMAN DEVELOPMENT PROJECT MEDICAL CLINIC is the right place to give free dental care for patients of Kibera. We worked with two local dentists; they shared with us their experiences and details of dental care they offer in the clinic. We also discussed the prices the patients have to usually pay to get the medical treatment that was needed, and unlikely I found out that the prices were higher than the people from Kibera could handle financially.
The conditions of the clinic were not adequate with the minimal basic materials, but I was impressed with the management and the good work the doctors were doing.
We went to Silver Spring Secondary School, we heard about the students’ obstacles that they had to overcome to continue their studies, about harsh living conditions, tens of kilometers and many hours of walk to get to school, the hunger that often make them fail the exams, and big dreams for the future.
The clinic is next to Holy Trinity Primary School, so I was lucky to meet the children every day. Without no doubt I can say that they are the loveliest children I have ever met. Every time they saw us, they called Wazungu and run to hug us. I got lots of drawings, gifts from some very smart and talented little girls. Their happy faces with their hopeful eyes can make everyone’s hearts melt.
What they got is not enough, they deserve more, and we need to tell the world about.
Thank you so much for the unforgettable experience!
Dr. Vildane Ismaili"