Kenya, Kibera: “slum survivor” Patrick Mburu still emptying pit latrines to keep his kid in school

Pit latrine emptying in Kibera. Photo: KWAHO

Four years after news agency IRIN released its award-winning documentary film “Slum Survivors”, its makers returned to the Kenyan slum of Kibera to see what had happened to the main characters.

One of the most striking sequences of the film showed Patrick Mburu emptying pit latrine toilets in the dead of night. He did not much care for the job but the money was good and as he put it at the time, “I’ll carry as much shit as it takes to keep my kid in school.”

Four years later Patrick is still emptying toilets and his kid is still in school – and doing quite well by all accounts.

See below the section of “Slum Survivors” that follows Patrick at work at night emptying shared latrines [segment starts at 1.50].

Al Jazeera has broadcast Slum Survivors several times, and viewers have contributed more than US$ 100,000 to support characters from the film and their work. Inspired by the film, the BBC sent four UK celebrities to live and work in the Kibera slum for a week as part of the 2011 annual BBC Comic Relief charity telethon. One the celebrities, BBC Radio One DJ Reggie Yates

bags himself one of the highest paid jobs in the slums – emptying raw sewage from the public pit latrines.

In 2007 the World Bank produced a longer portrait of Patrick Muburu in the 10-minute video “Kibera Kenya – Understanding Small Scale Service Providers”

Kibera gained international fame in 2005 when it featured in the hit film “The Constant Gardener”, based on the 2001 novel of the same name by John le Carré. Since then it has become an obligatory stop, not only for foreign dignitaries but also for tourists who can sign up for a wide range of Kibera Slum tours.

Related web sites:

Source: IRIN, 16 Mar 2011 ; Comic Relief / Red Nose Day, 03 Mar 2011

2 responses to “Kenya, Kibera: “slum survivor” Patrick Mburu still emptying pit latrines to keep his kid in school

  1. Ati, ni kwasababu….. the GoK does not have an interest in declaring anything on Kibera. This could be because Kibera generates more revenue / foreign money the way it currently is.
    It imo also is an issue of land ownership when it comes to building toilets + no roads for the removal of all the sludge. That’s why ppl like Patrick can continue earning money with this job.

  2. Pingback: Now You Are Cooking – After Gutenberg

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