Raw sewage flows into many of Mukuru kwa Reuben’s alleys every day, and so this godforsaken urban sprawl cannot hide the pestilential problem of the city’s garbage and sewage management.
But it is a small school here, started 12 years ago, that could be the emblem of all that is wrong with Nairobi’s public health management.
Tina’s Education Centre, located in the middle of the slum, is bearing the brunt of decades of poor waste disposal, and whichever way you turn inside the small compound you are confronted with the reality that this could be Nairobi’s most dangerous school.
A nauseating pungent smell hangs in the air, the compound is flooded with sewer water, and pools of raw sewage rest calmly, but dangerously, inside classrooms and the staffroom.
About 140 pupils study here every day, dancing with fate every time they walk through the gate in the morning.
“This school has literally gone down the drain and nobody seems to care,” says Mr Oscar Ogaye, the administrator.
“I constantly try to call about blocked sewers and broken water pipes but get no response.”
Their woes began last year, when a developer decided to put up houses on a sewer line that empties the slum’s effluent into a nearby river.
“There is very little that we can do,” says Ms Christine Wako, a teacher at the institution.
“Although the school’s director has tried to redirect sewage, he cannot do it alone.”
A health worker says one patient died before getting to the ward due to dehydration.