Street vendors

The streets of Mathare, like most African slums, are lined with vendors offering their wares. A local cart puller has delivered these tomatoes from a nearby wholesaler who supplies many small stands throughout the neighborhood. The fine attire of these dignified women reflects the pride with which they go about their daily trade.


John’s story, Hope and a Future, mostly takes place in Mathare, one of Nairobi’s largest slums. This informal settlement of cardboard, tin and plastic shacks holds several hundred thousand souls. But it would be wrong to characterize Mathare as a place of sheer misery; it is neither to be demonized nor idealized. There’s so much more … Read More

John the Barber

This young man, John Maina, was cast onto the streets of an African slum when he was five years old. How did he survive? How did he overcome incredible hardships to lift himself out of poverty? How did I meet him and how did he change my life? John’s hardscrabble life and our relationship is … Read More

Our Collaboration

As I came to learn about John’s amazing life, I knew I had to tell his story. The book was created through a close collaboration between John and me. We spent countless hours in the slums visiting the places that were important in his life. When I returned home, we continued talking weekly via WhatsApp. … Read More


Street kids like these follow their imaginations into a world of play. They also deserve a world of opportunity. That is why all proceeds that I derive from the sale of this book will be dedicated to supporting street boys, orphans and vulnerable children, a continuation of my philanthropic work for nearly 20 years. Share … Read More

John and I

Welcome to my new author site, or perhaps I should say “aspiring-to-be-published new author” site. Hope and a Future is the true story of the remarkable life of John Maina, a street boy from the slums of in Nairobi, Kenya, and the profound impact he has had on my life. The manuscript is fully written … Read More