Resilience Amid Ruin: A Mother’s Struggle for Survival in Flood-Stricken Mathare

by Amref Health Africa

In the heart of Mabatini, Mathare Nairobi, the echoes of a devastating flood still lingers, leaving tales of loss, survival, and unwavering determination. Among those affected is a young mother named Melvine and her 8-month-old daughter, Gloria, who have become symbols of resilience in the face of tragedy. Their lives were forever changed on the night of April 26th, 2024, when floodwaters mercilessly swept through their neighbourhood, sweeping away everything from their home and leaving devastation in its wake.

As the rains pounded relentlessly on that fateful night, Melvine faced a harrowing decision: flee or risk being engulfed by the torrential downpour. With Gloria cradled in her arms, she fled into the darkness, leaving behind everything they owned in a desperate bid for survival. Eventually, she found a dry spot and stood all night with her daughter cradled tightly in her arms.

“We had no time to grab anything,” Melvine recalls, her voice trembling with emotion. “I held Gloria tight and prayed we would make it through the night.”

With dawn came a glimmer of hope as Melvine followed a crowd of displaced families to the Undugu Society Camp, a sanctuary amidst the chaos of disaster. Here, amidst their fellow displaced peers from neighbouring areas, Melvine and Gloria have found a semblance of stability amidst the uncertainty surrounding them.

But the road ahead is far from easy. Before the flood, Melvine worked casual jobs in Eastleigh to provide for her daughter. Now, with no place to leave Gloria during the day, she finds herself unable to work, relying solely on the kindness of strangers and the support of aid organizations to survive.

“I worry about our future,” Melvine confides, her eyes clouded with uncertainty. “What will happen when the camp closes? Where will we go? How will I provide for Gloria?”

These questions weigh heavily on Melvine’s heart as she watches Gloria play in the camp’s makeshift playground. She dreams of a better life for her daughter, one filled with opportunities and hope, but their circumstances are daunting.

Yet, amidst their challenges, Melvine finds strength in the bond she shares with Gloria. In her daughter’s laughter and in the sparkle of her eyes, she finds a reason to keep going, to keep fighting against the odds stacked against them.

As the days pass and the camp teeters on the brink of closure as it is a Primary School set to reopen soon, Melvine’s resolve remains unshaken. She knows the road ahead will be difficult, filled with obstacles and uncertainty, but she refuses to lose hope.

“We’ve been through so much already,” Melvine says, her voice filled with determination. “But as long as we have each other, I know we’ll find a way forward.”

In the heart of Mabatini, amidst the ruins of their flooded home, Melvine’s story is a testament to the power of the human spirit in the face of adversity. Her hope for a brighter, safer and more stable tomorrow is a reminder that resilience can light the way forward.

Author: Willa Obura, Communications Intern, Amref Kenya Country Office

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