On April 6, 2020, President Uhuru Kenyatta announced a cessation of movement in and out of the Nairobi Metropolitan area. He encouraged the public to wash their hands, wear masks and stay at home. Not everyone can adhere to the stay at home directive issued by the government. It makes it difficult for most residents of Kibera to fend for their families. As it is well known, most people in the informal settlements live on daily wages less than 2 US dollars a day. They simply cannot afford to live as per the directives.
The photo essay explores the impact of COVID-19 on the life of a young man in Kibera, who works as a mason. 28-year-old Louise Ooko is the father of a 3 months old daughter, Angie who gives him peace of mind. When he struggles with the thoughts of not being able to work, he plays video games to pass time. “My daughter gives me happiness. At a time like this I would be struggling with depression. Just seeing her gives me hope for a better tomorrow” says Louis.
The pandemic’s economic impact means that getting construction jobs is difficult. The dusk to dawn curfew running from 7pm to 5am makes it hard to find part-time gigs. Louis is left doing minor construction repairs in and around Kibera, to scrape by. COVID-19 might however be a blessing in disguise. Under normal circumstances, he would wake up early to go to work, and return late in the evening. He simply would not have enough time to spend with Angie. The pandemic has brought about plenty of quality time with his young family.
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