Boys toys in Mathare Valley Slum Nairobi

Amid the squalor in one of Kenya’s most depressing slums, there is a surprising amount of flashy colour and fun

Njuguna makes these toys because he like to! His clients are local people in the slum but he does sell well outside of that market too.

I was especially enthralled by this scrap metal motorbike but the price was Ksh 2,500 (US$ 30) which may have been a special price for visitors like me – I couldn’t afford it!

Scrap metal gocart – boys in heaven!

Njuguna also makes beautiful micro toys for a specialist corporate market – they had been sold but he had photos

You guessed it – client was Safaricom!

Amongst all the toys were some other serious gadgets that Njuguna had put together for no specific reason -a couple of free standing windmills rotate rapidly in the narrow streets that channel the wind. They stand there like artistic monuments, but Njuguna told me that he made these constructions made from parts taken from broken cars and had put them out and was waiting for an idea to strike him regarding what to apply them to. He called it his research experiment. …  somewhere else lay another of his inventions, a waterpump  …..(should I have suggested something?)

Kids play by open sewer in Mathare Valley

Visiting Kibera was disturbing in so many ways


….and yet it was thoroughly invigorating and inspiring – a pleasant surprise . If you ever get a chance, do visit and seek out the Njuguna’s tucked away in narrow streets. These brilliant artists and innovators might live in what seems like the worst hell on earth, yet somehow it feels like they choose to.