Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Lenny Henry in the Slums
Comedian Lenny Henry has done a great deal of work for charity over the years. Through Comic Relief, he has travelled to some of the poorest parts of Africa to help raise money for those living there.
This time was different, though. He found himself in Kibera, one of the largest and poorest slums in the world, near Nairobi, Kenya.
Kibera houses approximately one million people in a one and a half square miles. Most of these people live in extreme poverty.
The slum is appallingly filthy, but Kiberans somehow manage to keep their homes spotlessly clean. They mostly live in corrugated iron shacks, and one toilet may be shared by anything up to fifty families.
Along with three other celebrities, Henry went to live in Kibera to raise awareness for Comic Relief. He stayed with a family of orphans who were looked after by their 16-year-old brother, the eldest of five.
Henry started by saying he had seen places like this many times before, but having spent the night there, said he had never seen anything this bad. He described it as "hell".
The children lived in one room, next door to an open toilet which regularly overflowed, causing raw sewage to flow through the children's room.
Henry broke from the rules of the documentary to use his own funds to buy the children another house to live in.
It was very moving to see Lenny Henry crying at the sight, and smell, of the children's living conditions. However, shame on Comic Relief for finding them and leaving them there to film. Why didn't Comic Relief move those children out of there? This is very exploitative.
Shame on you, Comic Relief. Shame.
I have never been a fan of reality TV, and this show did not make a fan of me.
In the end, all four celebrities helped the people they were staying with, and I found this very inspiring.