01 02 03 Africa Expat Wives Club: Stand up and be counted - census 2009 04 05 15 16 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 31 32 33

Stand up and be counted - census 2009

The enumerators popped over yesterday. One was wearing the red t-shirt and satchel (as we were informed they would be), the other two looked a bit like ground crew for the 1980s/90s band 'Run DMC' - pretty laidback/cool. Anyway - I found chairs and a table and we went through all the questions. The guy doing all the pencil pushing was a sort of trainee I gathered, because whenever he wavered, his senior colleague leant over and pulled him up.

They were quite punchy,
'where do we sit?' they asked on arrival.
I think they were prepared for a prickly reception from distrustful householders. When I offered them tea, they even seemed pretty unsure about accepting. It was the beginning of the day.

There were around 3 pages of questions, some multiple choice - they were quite interesting. After the usual names/dates of birth etc there were the following:

How many habitable rooms in your house? (ie. I guess with 4 walls and a roof)
What is the roof/floor in your house made of? grass/leaves/tiles/corrugated iron - or - dirt/tile/cement
Do you have access to: 1. radio, 2. tv 3. computer 4. land line telephone 5. mobile phone
Do your children have access to these things?
Do you have 1. bicycle 2. car 3. motorbike 4. tractor/van 5. matatu 6. lorry
Do you have livestock?
When did you build your house or is it purchased?

How many children have you given birth to? How many were born dead? Are your parents living? Does any one of your family have any kind of disability or illness?

In the information leaflet we got given it said: 'all information will be confidential and used for planning and research only. All census officials will swear an 'Oath of Secrecy.' as embodied in the Statistics Act 2006.

I gather than enumerators will be collecting information until Monday - which does not surprise me as it's not a very speedy process.


In addition - yesterday our ex-nightwatchman came over in search of money for his wife's hospital treatment, which I duly gave. She is recovering - she had pneumonia, so he needs to get her out of Kenyatta Hospital asap as they charge 450/- per day. So many people get caught in the catch 22 of not being able to settle hospital bills, so instead wind up staying in hospital as the bills pile up.

Anyway - by way of a break through (- a great help for my donor fatigue), he says he has a job! with Amref who he has been training/volunteering with for at least 2 years - starting in either Sept/Oct - salary: 20,000 per month! He has been interviewed - but was a little vague on whether he officially had the job. 20,000 doesn't sound much, but it is comparatively a pretty decent wage around here. We have been giving him 6,000 per month, not including extra money for hospital tests/extras. Perhaps the last 3/4 years of training with zero income are about to pay off. I can hardly dare hope it will all come through. The funding he sought from Safaricom for his community project (first making school uniforms then weaving wool rugs?) in Kibera has been declined.
I said, 'What is important is the job!!' He laughed.

He promised he would let me know when he starts paid work. I wonder if he will move out of Kibera once he gets a decent wage? He currently pays 1,500 per month on rent in there - which is the same as you could pay for a room in a non slum area - for instance a little further out of town in Dagoretti or somewhere on the outskirts of Nairobi. It will be interesting to see what happens - as people in Kibera often choose to stay. Watch this space.

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