2007 January, the 25th. Twenty thousand people passed through Nairobi slums, starting from Korogocho (sadly known as “world dump”) and arriving in the Uhuru Park, crossing six shanty towns of Nairobi.
A run for hope and for human dignity, a run symbolizing that sport can be a great tool against environmental and social degradation, giving voice to the population – the African one – vexed in its differences but animated by a great desire for reform. This and much more has been the “Run amongst slums for basic rights”, organized by Uisp and Libera as the concluding event of Nairobi 2007 – the World Social Forum, whose conclusions is only the beginning of a new development politics for Third Countries.
“I dedicate this win to all the dignity of all people” said 25 year old Peter Maina, born and raised in the Mukuru slum, and winner of the run with a time of 52’20’’36.
The Italian athlete Giorgio Calcaterra finished in 13th place and said
“The time is really the least important thing in this competition; the run was hard due to the intense heat, the altitude and the poor terrain. There were a lot of people cheering me on, above all schoolchildren, clapping and shouting “musungu” – white man”.
In the the women's race, first home was Gabriella Stramaccioni former Italian team member and now manager of Libera, Don Ciotti’s association fighting against the Mafia.
At the finish Father Alex Zanotelli, together with the Italian vice-minister of Foreign Affaires, Patrizia Sentinelli, welcomed the athletes home.
The success of the marathon is due to Father Daniele Moschetti and his association SSS-St John Sports. who knows Nairobi roads and understands the difficulties posed by the poor, narrow streets with open sewers in the slum areas and heavy traffic in the city. But the aims of the project were achieved, thanks particularly to the work of 500 volunteers providing assistance to the runners throughout the race, and the enthusiasm and the involvement of the people of Nairobi proving the success of the event, that eloquently demonstrated the painfully reality of the slums, because – like Father Moschetti said –
“The real Social Forum is here!”
“Today we saw images of sport very hard to forget – said Filippo Fossati, Uisp president, adding
our run created a strong communication between the Forum participants and the rest of the city, actively crossed and involved. A message for world politics summarizing the watchwords of this forum: defence of water, ground, and food.”