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Gertrude

  • July 11, 2016

A horrified look is what Gertrude had on her face when she came home one evening from work and found her house, a single roomed building made of iron sheets, on fire. Her house was among 10 houses that burnt to ashes from what was said to be a faulty electric connection.

Like any other slum in Nairobi (the capital of Kenya), the methods through which residents get electricity in their houses is often illegal. Many people in the slum cannot afford to pay the monthly electricity bill and thus resort to illegal methods to guarantee free electricity supply. The residents tap power through unqualified electrician from an electricity post and pass the wires underground to the resident’s house for a small fee. Once this is done, and the small fee paid, the residents don’t pay monthly electricity bill like legal electricity consumers do since there is no electric meter. However, this method of tapping electricity can be very dangerous because often the wiring is done very recklessly and often leads to fires.

This was what happened in Gertrud’s neighborhood and the reason her house caught fire. She still thanks God for taking her 8-year-old daughter to the village a week before her house burnt down, otherwise, her daughter might have been burnt in that fierce fire that turned all her belongings in the house to ashes. Some of her neighbors managed to rescue their belongings because they were at home when the fire started, unlike Gertrude who was on her way back home from work.

It has been six months since that fateful day and though she has been able to find another house in the neighborhood, she lost some important households belongings like the bed, utensils, and all her clothes. The monthly grant has been of great help to Gertrude and her daughter. She has been using the money specifically for paying the rent for her new house rent (which is also situated in the slum and single room).

With the rent being taken care of, she now uses the revenue she gets from selling confectionaries to pay for other bills and buy food for her daughter and herself. Before she started receiving the monthly grant, Gertrude used to struggle a lot more especially the days that she made little or no income at all.

‘I would like to take this opportunity to thank every hand that donates to all the needy single mothers, I honestly don’t know how I would survive without the monthly grant that I receive from Dodore Foundation’. Said Gertrude during the interview at her single room house in Sinai slums, Nairobi.