Globe-trotting Travel Series #20: Street Artists, Mathare, Nairobi, Kenya via The Guardian

Day 20 of the Globe-trotting Travel Series takes us into the Mathare camp of Nairobi, Kenya, where street art seeks to teach a population living in extreme poverty and close quarters how to protect themselves against the latest threat against their lives, Covid-19. Msale is a leader among a group of Nairobi artists and youth who are trying to care for people who have no government support and little access to resources. The immense cheerfulness and solidarity is a powerful reminder of what the human spirit is capable of in the face of danger and death. These efforts are coordinated through youth groups across Mathare and are the definition of community.

You can also see the difficulties these artists face in trying to implement what they teach: they are close together outside as they work, they avoid handshaking but their friendliness wants expression and so they bump elbows. Wearing a mask effectively without touching it constantly or pulling it below the nose or off the mouth is hard when you are going about daily life. And yet their desire to help and protect each other is beautiful and remarkable and in stark contrast to the attitudes we see in some affluent communities across the world. May they stay well and strong.


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