Foul Broth

Daring boys like John, wade into the foul Mathare River to scoop up metal scraps using a magnet tied to a string.

A Maze of Footpaths

Street boys earn money by collecting scraps. Each day they wander the streets and maze of footpaths between shacks collecting discarded plastic and metal.

Denizens of Galole St

In writing the book, John and I ventured back to Galole St where he had slept on the sidewalk for three years. Here we encountered a band of locals, some of whom John remembered from his days on the street 30 years ago

Galole St.

After forced out of his home at age five, John and his half-brother, Daniel, age seven, slept on this street with a small band of young boys for three years.

John’s classroom

A kindly security guard allowed us to enter the school grounds on a Saturday. He also let us into John’s kindergarten classroom. Although the wall posters have changed since John sat in this classroom 30 years ago, these are much like those he learned from in the late 1980s.

St. Theresa’s Primary School

John and his brother were enrolled in kindergarten in this Catholic school only a short walk from their apartment flat in Eastleigh. This unassuming structure provided some of the best elementary school education in the area.

Gathare Bar

In writing the book, John and I visited the Gathare Bar where John’s mother used to work as a barkeeper and cashier. Note the bars on the left and right which separate the liquor and cash register from the patrons. Only the most trusted employees, such as John’s mother, worked in this secure room.

First Street

In his earliest years, John lived in the relatively more prosperous neighborhood of Eastleigh separated from the Mathare slum by a busy thoroughfare. He spent his first five years in the apartment building on the left with his mother (Keziah), half-brother (Daniel) and sister (Jane).

Women, backbone of the country

Women hold Kenyan society together. They go about their lives supporting their families, earning their “daily bread” and the money necessary to pay the fees to send their children to school and outfit them in uniforms. Here a woman is packing charcoal. This form of charcoal is not the neat briquettes we use but is … Read More