Sande, 61, lives in the rich suburbs of Parklands, Nairobi, but he is not a man of means like a majority of the population in the area.
Instead of living in the luxury and expensive apartments associated with Parkland, Sande lives in a shanty made of papers, built on top of a giant pile of garbage.
While speaking to TV47 Digital, the dispirited man narrates how, in his childhood, he used to live in the same place with his father and brother.
His father, who used to be a watchman in one of the lavish apartments just a stone’s throw away from their ‘home’, succumbed to an unidentified disease under a tree he sees every day when he wakes up and before he sleeps.
“He left me with my brother who later left me,” he says in a low tone. “Alikufa! (he died)” he got more specific, probably after realising I was nodding intermittently, unsure of what he meant by “he left me”.
His brother died after he ate food they had left in their shanty, that was heavily infested with rats. He suspects that the rats contaminated the food infecting him with a deadly disease. He breathed his last in their small little “house”, in his brothers arm’s.
Sande moved to Molo but came back
He took a breather by deciding to move to Molo where he secured a job to take care of cows, goats and sheep. “While in the forest with them they would remind me of the rats that killed my brother.” What else could this be if not Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)?
This was his trigger to move back to Nairobi. He rented a house in Kangemi where he co-habited with his girlfriend. He worked as a shopkeeper and even learnt how to sell mandazis.
It did not take him long before he moved to Michigwi area, Nairobi, and this is where his not-so-bright star began to dim. On a dull afternoon as he was sleeping, his house caught fire. “They set my house on fire when I was inside and on coming out, I found people waiting for me wanting to kill me,” the loquacious man narrated in a disheartened tone of voice.
He secured a job at the now defunct Uchumi Supermarket as a sweeper which did not last long either, forcing him back to the streets. East or West home is always the best; the shanties were home for Sande. This was where he knew he’d always run back to no matter what part of the world he’d find himself in trouble.
At 61 years and single, he currently lives there. He puts food on the table by collecting plastic bottles and selling them. “My left eye is not functional because people here wanted to kill me, ” he alleges. Sniffing gum and smoking marijuana are his escape route from reality.