"And Life Continues": The Dual Nature of Survival among Street Children in Nairobi, Kenya
Cutcher, Catherine D.
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The title of this paper, "And Life Continues", is a reference to a common saying used among people in Nairobi to express the almost-fatalistic feeling that perseverance through difficult times is the only way to survive. Although bad things might happen, life always must continue and there should be something good just around the corner. (In a sense, it resembles the popular American slogan, "Shit happens.") I heard this phrase commonly expressed by the street children with whom I was working, especially when they were describing how they manage to survive through adversity and conflict. Furthermore, "And Life Continues" is the name of one of the Number Forty-Four matatus destined for Kahawa West; the home community of about ten of the boys staying on Murang'a Street--the boys would also commonly refer to their home using this phrase. I felt that this was the most appropriate title for this paper, as it simultaneously embraces the philosophy of letting go and moving on which is so essential to survival in Nairobi but also expresses the tenuous link to home which many of these children continue to try to maintain. For the purposes of this project, I have changed the names of the street children whose stories I describe for the purpose of protecting their identities. As I realized through the course of my research that anonymity is a very important form of self-protection, I do not want to put these youths in any danger of being identified.