Most areas in Nairobi the average urbanites buy maize flour from supermarkets but to the residents of Kawangware a posho mill means a lot. The slum is located 15 km west of the city centre between Lavington and Dagoretti with a population of 133,286 people. There are many posho mills than the shops and bars. It’s simply ugali nation. Posho mills in the area are either powered by diesel or electricity and they operate 24 hours.
As early as 7am people start trooping to the posho mills and in half an hour high human traffic is witnessed as they wait for their turn. The meandering queues are a symbol that posho maize meal has dominated and is a major staple food. When there are no lights in Kawangware the residents are depressed but when lights come back the entire slum is full lightens up!
The posho mills are regarded as a blessing to the residents. A good posho mill cost sh.120, 000 and sh.140, 000. Residents say they prefer posho maize meal to sifted maize because of its affordability. A two kilogram of tin of maize grain costs sh.80 and sh.10 for milling and takes about five minutes to mill. Although it’s a cosmopolitan area the people from western and Luo nyanza dominate the place and the large numbers of posho mills have increased its prominence in the area. They fancy ugali as their favourite meal.
At the height of political debacle most of the properties were torched but rowdy youths kept off posho mills. Destroying the posho mill would have subjected them to hunger something that the locals would term as disastrous.
Omariba Moses says that” the posho mills are many because the Kisii and Luhyas are the main inhabitants of Kawangware. We naturally love ugali.I consider myself as an addict of ugali. If I don’t eat ugali I’m normally weak. Walking becomes a problem so I end up repeating the meal with different vitoweos”, said Omariba.
David Macharia told the Nairobian that posho mills in the area have brought job opportunities and affordable meals.
“We are lucky that we have many posho mills, we cannot go hungry because the price of posho maize meal is affordable. I cannot buy sifted maize meal I find it tasteless. I dislike packed maize meal because it doesn’t satisfy me at all and it’s expensive”.
Esther Wanjiru opines that even if posho mills have been instrumental in the area they have brought noise pollution and robbed people their sleep.
“These ngongoro’s bring a lot of noise pollution, sleeping during the night is a problem but we have gotten used to it. Children are the most affected. You can imagine that the posho mill is next to your house, communication becomes a hindrance. You have to keep shouting”.
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