KENYA: Peter Munabi, "I live like a bird, eating food whenever I can find it"

Photo: Julius Mwelu/IRIN
"If I don't have food then I just sit at home, shaky with weakness"
Nairobi, 27 January 2009 (PlusNews) - As the Kenyan government struggles to contain a growing food crisis by importing food and distributing it to the worst hit areas, many urban and rural poor are finding it increasingly difficult to put food on the table.

Peter Munabi, 52, who is HIV positive, lives in Kibera, the largest informal settlement in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi. He told IRIN/PlusNews that feeding his family depended almost entirely on luck.

"My wife died from HIV-related complications in 1999. I got tested the following year and was found positive. I am on ARVs [antiretrovirals] now, and I am also on medication for TB [tuberculosis].

"My wife and I had five children, but two died from this disease. I now live with the remaining three children and five other children who belong to my late brothers and other relatives.

"One of my kids, the middle one - a girl aged 16 - has a very bad chest and her body is weak; I think she may be positive ... I need to bring her for a test.

"Before my wife died, I was a shop assistant in town but since then, because of the kids and the illness, I have been unemployed, just working when I can find odd jobs.

"I live in a one-room house with all the kids and pay 1,500 shillings [US$20] per month. I must admit that since last year's post-election violence [in 2008], when my landlord was chased away from the neighbourhood, I have not paid any rent. Unfortunately, he's back now and demanding money - I don't know where I'll get it.

"The biggest issue we have now is food; occasionally the Kibera district [local government] headquarters gives us some food, but since the recent food shortages, it is hard to get food there because everyone in the neighbourhood is short of food. Even today I came with a paper bag, hoping there might be some, but it's all gone.

"I live like a bird, eating food whenever I can find it. The ARVs make me so hungry - if I don't have food then I just sit at home, shaky with weakness."


Theme (s): HIV/AIDS (PlusNews),

[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

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