A photo shoot in the middle of Mukuru #perouskenya

Posted by Amy Christian Stories, Film and Photography Project Manager

8th Aug 2013

It was over five months ago, on a sunny April day in east London, that we met Perou for the first time to discuss the idea of him photographing our water and sanitation projects. Today, it all came together in Mukuru, Nairobi.  I stood barefoot on a piece of plastic sheeting throwing water over laughing children as Perou took their photos in an improvised studio. Rope, tied to the roof of a school building held the blue back drop in place, the floor had been covered in plastic sheeting and studio lights flashed in unison with the water as it splashed over the children. 

We spent the day at Oxfam's bio-centre in Reuben, Mukuru celebrating clean water with the children. The bio-centre provides the local community with clean, affordable toilets and fresh drinking water. It also helps fund the school that sits behind it, where the children we were photographing spend their days.

14 year old Judy Mueni was fourth up to have her photo taken.  I stood on the edge of the 'studio' next to two large buckets of water and a jug. She grinned as she stepped past me to take her position in front of Perou. He chatted to her for a bit, explaining what he needed her to do. She laughed at him and told him she was excited to be involved, that when she grows up she wants to be either an accountant or a model. She now knows that he is a famous fashion photographer after he gave a presentation earlier in the day. "I love fashion," she proclaimed with a grin and a few seconds later Perou was counting down and water started flying through the air in giant waves. Judy jumped up and with a squeal she grinned at the camera and threw her arms high above her head.

Later on, after the shoot had finished and Judy was all dried off, she sat down to tell me about school, her life in Mukuru and how things have changed since the bio centre was built.

"Before we used to drink dirty water and get really sick. We had no other water to drink and it gave us diarrhea and hurt our stomachs. It was really bad for us. Drinking clean water is really important because our bodies are made of water and need it to work properly. If you drink dirty water your body can't work properly and you get sick."

"We are so happy to have the bio-centre and the clean water. Since we have had this we haven't been sick at all and we feel much better. Clean water is important and it tastes really good. When you drink it you feel refreshed and you aren't thirsty anymore."

Judy is just one of hundreds of children and countless families who are benefitting from Oxfam's bio centres in Mukuru. The whole community came along to see us today, they came to see our crazy photo shoot and say hello. Including the community chief. 

Everyone I spoke to asked me to thank the people who have made it possible for them to have a bio-centre. Well that's all of you. So on behalf of the people I spent the day with in Rueben, Mukuru: THANKS for the amazing bio-centres! 

Keep following our trip on the live blog.






More from Kenya #perouskenya

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Find out more about the team and the projects they're visiting in Tuesday's blog. 


Blog post written by Amy Christian

Stories, Film and Photography Project Manager

More by Amy Christian