Day 7. Ruaraka.


Stories from our cities.

Initially I expected that our exhibition of photos would be in a hall where people could walk in and out of their own free will, I could not of been more wrong. Ruaraka was the biggest culture shock I’ve had so far.

We arrived in a VERY poor part of the city, it was (I think) basically a slum. We set up by  an intersection and there was music and all our photos up on a wall.

Immediately we were surrounded by curious locals and children, which was fun. An hour or so later things started to get a bit serious when local Adults began to approach us and ask us what we were doing and begging us to help them. One particular man told me and Alex that our photos were not helping and they were still suffering, this is where I started to feel like we shouldn’t be there. thought that to show up as we did and not actively help but show photos of where we’re from was almost like rubbing it in their faces, we all got a bit upset and started to feel harassed as locals began to approach us as soon as one of us was on our own.

One of the worst things I think is rock up to an African slum with nice clothes,  very expensive camera equipment and immediately go and buy coke and stand around drinking it TRYING to ignore children as they beg you for some. It was awful.A couple of times I could people trying to get into my back pockets and opening my bag zips, stressful!

Later on while attempting to wander back to the group a woman grabbed me and asked me what we were doing, when I told her about the photos 3 other woman appeared and began to all talk at me at the same time asking why we were comparing cultures when there is absolutely no comparison, they needed help.

We left ASAP and got taken to our bus drivers house, this is where probably  the worst part happened. On first impressions as usual we were surrounded by locals welcoming us to their community, we went into a block of flats and saw victors house and then left. At this point a woman appeared and grabbed me and attempted to lead me into an alleyway and told me she was “angry” but actually I was wrong and she was saying “im hungry” regardless I was absolutely terrified but thankfully Alex saw and rescued me (forever the hero) and we all got in the van, where local women started to try and get in and ask us for help, telling us they’d ‘Lost a Woman’ and were suffering, we all got a bit upset and anxious as we had nowhere to go and were trapped in the van.

Pete arrived and hastily shut the door and we drove off to get stuck in traffic for 3 hours as Kenyan drivers do not understand the concept of LANES.

The day ended with more upset as when I got home I realised for the second time that my ‘tan line’ was actually just dirt from the dusty roads.


“Do you work?” (Southy, A: 2015)

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