VIDEO: A slow life working aboard Kenya’s century-old train

A slow life working aboard Kenya’s century-old train from Ground Truth on Vimeo. Produced by Jacob Kushner.

A slow life aboard Kenya’s century-old train

The Nairobi Railway Station. /JACOB KUSHNER

For service workers at the Nairobi Railway, breakdowns and delays limit time-off, and there’s no overtime pay 

MOMBASA, Kenya – In its heyday, the Nairobi railway employed some 24,000 people. Day and night, they worked to keep freight and passenger trains running between what is now Kenya’s capital city, Nairobi, and the Indian Ocean at the port of Mombasa.

Today, the Rift Valley Railways Consortium employs only 3,000 people. The railway itself has changed little in more than a century since it was built by the British imperial power. Trains still bobble up and down, side to side as they roll along outdated, narrow tracks. Train traffic, derailment and other delays strand cars for hours in the middle of a national park.

In April, the China Road and Bridge Corporation announced plans to replace the historic railway with a new, modern line. Workers will lay a set of standard-width tracks that will allow freight trains to traverse them at much higher speeds. Most workers seem hopeful the new line will attract more tourists and other passengers, and that the influx of customers will translate into higher wages and benefits for the workers, too.

Read the full story and watch the video at GlobalPost

VIDEO: Kenya’s Westgate Mall workers reflect

Vincent Gallo Kebogo used to work at an ice cream shop called “Mama Mia,” located in the Westgate mall in Nairobi, Kenya. Six months after the mall was stormed by the Somali-based terrorist group al-Shabaab, Kebogo reflects on the devastating attack and how it has affected his life.

Six Months Later: Kenya’s Westgate Mall workers reflect on a delicate recovery from Ground Truth on Vimeo.

Kenyans call for attention to justice, the UN Millennium Development Goal that never was

With the United Nations convening in New York next week to debate a new set of global development goals, one Kenyan rights group wants justice reform to have its day in court.

NAIROBI, Kenya — Kenya’s leading legal rights group Thursday called on Kenya’s government to pressure the United Nations to adopt “justice” as one of its primary global development goals beginning next year through 2030.

Declaring Jan. 30 “Access to Justice Day,” Kituo Cha Sheria (the Center for Legal Empowerment) engaged Kenyans in a televised conference to rally the nation toward what it says is much-needed judicial reform here and around the world.

“A large population of the poor and marginalized are living outside the protection of the law,” wrote the group in a letter urging Kenya’s UN representatives to introduce justice as a new development goal during next week’s meeting the UN’s Open Working Group (OWG) on Sustainable Development Goals.

Read the full story at GlobalPost.

Four years after the Haiti earthquake, what have billions in US aid bought?

The United States spent $2.8 billion to help Haiti rebuild, but the results have been a disaster of a different kind.

By Jacob Kushner

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — In the four years since Haiti’s disastrous earthquake, the United States has promised $3.6 billion in aid, at least $2.8 billion of which has already been spent.

Has it helped? GlobalPost examined more than one dozen studies and audits to estimate how much of that money made it through US government and NGO bureaucracies to the ground in Haiti — and what good it did there.

Read the article at GlobalPost.