Newsweek: How to Defuse the Population Bomb

December 19, 2014 • Daily Email Recap

How to Defuse the Population Bomb

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When night falls on Kibera, it is like a door slamming shut.

When the sun is up, things are hectic and loud, rough and fetid, but always safe and even welcoming: Bright colors abound and so do offers of nyama choma (roasted meat, usually goat) and bottles of Tusker, the local lager. Soon after the first stars appear in the sky, the streets of Nairobi, Kenya’s largest urban slum go silent, emptying out but for dogs, cats and rats, thieves and rapists. Life moves indoors, and because most people are too scared to leave their homes to use outhouses and public latrines, “flying toilets” (plastic bags holding human waste) are tossed out of doorways and over fences into the streets.

One night this past October, the sobbing of a girl cut through the muffled music reverberating behind the tin walls of makeshift homes and businesses. Tracking the noise, a middle-aged man discovered a young woman slouched against the wall in an alley. Her face was contorted in pain, and blood had soaked her skirt and pooled around her body.

Acting quickly, the man ran through the streets until he found a wheelbarrow. He then lifted the woman-a girl, really-and placed her inside. More blood flowed from her body as he wheeled her to the Marie Stopes Kibera Clinic.

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