I recently visited Dandora Dumpsite on a writing assignment. Every time I see the site, it remains depressing and a heart-breaking situation. 45 years later it still stands yet it was declared full in 2001.

Here I met a few people among them were Kasee and Teke, both their nicknames. They are part of the 1500 people who come to this dumpsite everyday to scavenge in competition with stray dogs, goats, cow, pigs and Marabou storks. But it is Kasee’s story that captured me most, especially because he is a young person full of energy and life.

Kasee migrated a few years ago from Eastern Kenya to Nairobi in search of a job and a better life in the Capital City. But as many economic migrants, reality hits on the ground… A mismatch of expectations and the reality…Dreams shaken, a future blurred.

Kasee comes to the dumpsite daily in search of whatever… Mainly to survive a day. On this day in the thick of smoky trash he found some broken headphones. He puts them on and imagines music, he hopes for a new song, a tune of redemption and liberty.

He tells me that he is forced by circumstances, reduced to a wretched pauper, snatched off his dignity a man and his God alone. Kasee is part of 60% of Kenyans languishing in poverty in different slums, 57 years and counting after ‘independence’ Shame!

But this population counts only during elections as votes and tribal statistics for political bargain. Inequalities and systemic injustices on those in the bottom of the pyramid.

The situation of Kasee and those like him takes away my imagination too, how would it be if we lived the promise of our democracy, fruits of our constitution? Only if the government cared just a little about the people as it cares for the elephants in our parks. What if Kasee was an elephant or a white Rhino?

Kasee may only hope for now. He can only imagine. His imagination is a force on what is possible.

Mine is to imagine with him… but ours must go beyond just the imagination, we must purpose to change the system. We must value our vote and hold them accountable. The price is too much to live by hope alone. Let us fix our governance by the powers we have… This is possible!

Kasee must not die in these toxic fumes. His life must not be cut short by artificial circumstances. He has a right just as the 45 million who call it home to be Kenyan.

I hope and pray that Kasee lives long enough to witness that which he imagines. To shine and smile, maybe dance too… That he may live to see his dreams come true for him, his children and his children’s children. Free and proud Kenyan. A promise of independence…

Kasee and those who form majority of Kenyans in slums and in people’s settlements must be free! Their dreams to live once again as people are genuine and valid.

I wish you well Kasee, stay strong. We shall win someday!

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