I stole this title. I stole it from Claris who will be writing a poem about how cheap it is to be totally decked out – well dressed and put together – in Mukuru kwa Reuben because the clothes, shoes, and accessories available in the Ghetto are cheaper and of good quality, you just have to have a good eye.What caught my eye about Claris’ fashion was her swanky pair of sparkly shoes that I admired and which she proudly announced only cost her Ksh 100. I was a little jealous because I know I would have spent more money had I bought them elsewhere in Nairobi.
Claris is one of our scholars in her second year of at Precious Blood High School and has been a Dada for about a year. We met with her at Kobil, right outside of Mukuru kwa Reuben, one of the big slums adjacent to Nairobi’s industrial area. We walked deep into the slum, through dry ground, slush, and spent the better part of our walk skipping around to avoid rivers of muddy and dirty water. Amidst the crazy in the slum, was Claris’ home where we were welcome by her jovial mother.
Claris exemplifies service leadership in the community because her project which seeks to raise the education standards in the slum, provides books in the local primary school. Claris collects books from her friends in school and in the area, covers them, and then stocks the primary school right around the corner from her house. She hopes that the library will grow into one that can host book clubs and other educational activities for the young people in the settlement.
As we are excitedly waiting to read and be inspired by Claris’ poem, “Swag ya Ghetto,” I hope her library becomes the source of inspiration for another poet, another devout reader, and another transformational leader.