James Lando Khwatenge, Kenya

Warscapes Corona Notebooks

The impact of the coronavirus on the lives of the Riruta people…

Before corona came, Riruta was, and still is, termed as a low-income area. If we have to consider a scale of one to ten, where the richest are number ten, we can place Riruta at number two or two-point-five. They are so poor that the World Food Program and Feed the Children Foundation started giving them free lunch in all primary schools within the Riruta area. The kids would have lunch at school, then come at home.

But following corona, the schools were closed, so kids stay at home without food. The parents used to work in two shifts. They would leave home very early – 4:30[am] – so as to be at their place of work at 5:30, and start working at 6:00. Then they would leave their place of work around 4pm. This allowed them a few hours to do an extra duty around Kileleshwa, Lavington and Muthaiga – laundry, and such things – whereby they would get a few more coins. This allowed them to at least “fly through.”

Now, with the curfew and corona, people in the rich areas do not allow people from the poor areas, or vice versa: The poor people fear going to the rich people’s places because rich people are usually coming from abroad, because of the virus. So now, with the lack of the second job and fewer hours at the first job, and kids at home, Riruta Satellite’s people have been affected in that they cannot feed themselves, or they cannot financially uplift themselves to the level they were before the corona.

James Lando Khwatenge has lived in Riruta Satellite in Nairobi, Kenya. A former national intelligence officer, he has given unprecedented testimony about atrocities committed in the 1980s and early 1990s by agents of the now defunct Directorate of State Intelligence.