Changing Faces in the Time of a Pandemic

By Calvin Onyango

The 2020 festive season was hit by the pandemic and it was evident in Dandora that things were not the same.  Unlike normal times, there were no church celebrations to be  heard on the streets and there was not much holiday activity observed from many. People were moving around as if it was January or any other normal day.

The only observable difference was the Changing Faces Competition which was kick started and involved different community based organisations transforming different spaces in their locality to restore a good habitat.

Some residents of Dandora from a group called Dandora Transformative League began this campaign in order to keep the area environmentally friendly. A team of more than 15 people embarked on a clean-up campaign, collecting waste from different courts within the estate.

I spoke to one of the leaders, Evans and he told me the clean up campaign faces a lot of problems during this Corona period. He says they have been short of active community members as compared to sometime back before COVID-19 period.

He attributes this to people dropping the zeal to have a conducive environment and having to focus instead on how they can make the extra coin during this time. Most of the clean-up persons are in the jua kali sector and majority have lost their jobs as a result of COVID-19.

Last year’s festive season may not have been as memorable or as joyful due to the hardship that we have endured. Many families in Dandora currently have no jobs because of the situation COVID-19 has put as and from the look of things, many residents were extremely desperate and were really hoping to get something small, good meals for example to enjoy the festive season.

In these drier  times, I would encourage abled persons and entities, organisations and companies to help vulnerable people in Dandora to donate foods, old or used clothes, shoes, to vulnerable people in the community to at least give them a sign of joy and hope during this hard season.

The situation in this community is extremely desperate and thus collective collaboration of different stakeholders is needed.



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