Personal Journal from 22nd July 2012
I encountered a street kid today. He was begging for some cash to eat something. I had a twenty shilling coin which I gave to him. The guys I was with kept asking him why he was not in school and telling him that he should go to school. I was interested in his family.
Why was he there begging? Had he no mother? He says no. No family? No. I sleep under there.
He points to a barred building just next to us that has a shelter. It is behind GOETHE INSTITUTE- a guarded building so it must be safe for him. What about friends? (In the past I have seen some street kids sleeping at that building opposite his shelter i.e. Alliance Françoise). He says he has no friends. He is lying.
A dirty man stands nearby and glares at the kid when I give him the twenty-shilling coin. After some consideration, I take back the cash and tell the kid to come with me to the supermarket just around the corner. My pals agree that it is best to just but him something that he eat readily and which will not be seized from him.
So we walk with him toward Uchumi supermarket just nearby. On the way, I ask him his name. Ezekiel. How long has he been in the street? As long as he can remember. Where’s mama? He has no idea.
Does he not get scared? He’s silent. Doesn’t he ever want a home? He does. Has he ever gone to a children’s home? He says he has no idea where they are.
Despite many things that ring of lies, this actually hits me as partly true. Why don’t street kids seek solace in children homes? Life in the streets is definitely hard and hardly a voluntary choice. Why don’t they ever go to children’s homes? Could really they not know where to go? Could there be something wrong with children homes? Why really do street kids stay in the streets?
We find the supermarket closed so I give back the twenty-shilling coin. I hope he won’t buy sniffing glue or anything. He says thank you and leaves. I watch him walk away- a small body in an oversize black sweater. He is so young! Must be about six or seven years. And his name’s Ezekiel- a name from the Bible.
Who named him?