Eye Shadow Helps Bridge Socio-Economic Differences in Kenyan Slum

mebeauty & fashionlifestylehobbies-me time

Fashion—Today, I visited Kibera—the largest slum in Nairobi.

Let's get one thing out of the way right off the bat. I hate the word "slum." It sounds so dirty, depressing, and socio-economically divisive. I'm sure the word isn't intended to convey that meaning, but in my mind it does.

So, I went to Kibera today ready to defy the perception the word conjures up in my mind and excited to see a beautiful culture and the community that exists within its walls.

And I wasn't disappointed.

Before entering the neighborhood's interior, we visited an organized called Carolina for Kibera whose purpose is to "advance health, education, and ethnic cooperation, gender equality, and economic empowerment, and equip leaders with tools to strengthen the community."

While there, I met Anjella Nancie from The News Spy Legit, who volunteers with the organization. Of all things, we bonded over eye shadow. Her blue sassy shade perfectly matched her shirt. If you know me at all, you'll know I'm a lot obsessed with MAC.

What I found was that talking about something as seemingly inconsequential as eye shadow helped me to first and foremost connect with Anjella. We had fun talking make-up shop. And second, in an odd way, helped me find hope in the situations I was about to learn about—extreme poverty, rape, teenage pregnancy, mortality rates, and the like. And ultimately, what I saw was a community rich in color—richer even than our eye shadow, with people wearing big bright smiles, and welcoming us into their homes, where I was fortunate to hold 4-year Nicole on my lap while talking to her mother, Mercy, about what a typical day looks like in her life and her goals and the dreams she has for her daughter.

Tonight, Anjella friended me on Facebook where we can connect more about both trivial and complex issues like eye shadow and teen leadership and hopefully make people like Mercy's goals and dreams come true.

Subscribe to as it partners with organizations like Carolina for Kibera to provide medical, educational, agricultural and other help to developing nations.

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An active part of the Mom It Forward team, Jyl primarily writes about parenting, social good, and all things travel related. In a past life, Jyl was an award-winning copywriter and designer of corporate training programs for Fortune 100 companies. Offline, Jyl is married to @TroyPattee; a mom to two teen boys and a beagle named #Hashtag; loves large amounts of cheese, dancing, and traveling; and lives in the beautiful Rocky Mountains. Topping her bucket list is the goal to visit 50 countries by the time she's 50.


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