Commentary: Kenyan slum a 'humanitarian disgrace'

NAIROBI, KENYA — Before entering one of the world’s largest slums, a dozen American journalists are directed toward a row of knee-high rubber boots. The instruction is to swap your shoes for boots and keep your pants tucked inside the boot tops.

The message: Whatever we’d step through inside the narrow, muddy alleys of the shantytown would be bad to take back to a hotel or suitcase.

If we looked out of place clomping around in boots on a warm June day, the barefoot and sandal-wearing locals didn’t seem to notice. Visitors now are fairly common in Kibera, much to the dismay of some Kenyan political leaders who would prefer that the area that “pricks our conscience” not be on so many must-see lists.

One million people — one-third of Nairobi’s population — live in Kibera, a tin-roof maze of living spaces that lack clean running water and basic sanitation.

To read the complete column, visit kansascity.com.