NAIROBI, June 2013 (IRIN) - When she first told IRIN her story, Millicent Wanyama, a 35-year-old widowed mother of seven, was living in the sprawling Ngomongo slums in the Kenyan capital Nairobi.
Five months later, she is living in Baba Dogo, another informal settlement not far from her previous home.
“I moved from Ngomongo just before the election
because I feared there would be violence there.
“This is also still a slum, but my life is now a little better. The last time you visited me, I was living in a tin-walled house. Now, this is a single room, but the walls are concrete and it more spacious.
“I still sell my bread crumbs, and because the times are hard for many people, people buy my breadcrumbs more because they can’t afford the normal loaf of bread [a loaf of bread still costs 45 shillings, US$0.50, and Millicent sells her breadcrumbs for 21, or shillings $0.24]. It is good business for me. Now I also sell doughnuts, and I earn more than before.
“Now with the doughnuts, my profit is higher. In one month, I can make about 8,500 shillings [$99], which is higher than the 3,000 shillings [$35] I used to make before.
“But when it comes to food, things are still very hard because prices are not coming down. So even when your income improves, it is eaten up by the expenditure on food.
“I still save part of my income to help me pay for school fees later for my children. This year, my first born will sit for her primary school examinations, and when she passes her exams, she will join form one. I want to prepare for that.
“We have a new government, and they are promising free education and healthcare, but you can’t believe that. You have to be ready to pay for it when the government fails to do it.
“I hope the government will keep its promise to reduce the cost of food.”
*Exchange rate as of 26 June 2013 (86 Kenyan shillings to US$1)
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