They call them Mapipa, Chokoraa, or street urchins; but to us, they are friends.
These children have been roaming the streets for ages. The whereabouts of their family is not known. And if they’re known, then the condition of their home is way too harsh to sustain them; could be poverty, a wicked stepmother or harsh stepfather. They spend their days looking for vibarua’s so that they can earn a shilling or two, usually used to buy food or the glue they keep sniffing to prevent themselves from falling asleep. They are interested only in two things, what they eat or drink.
A few months ago, I had an encounter with one of them, a young boy of about the age of 10, he was so dirty and looked desperate, but that was not what bothered me; he jangled along with me and kept singing this song I didn’t seem to understand. I suddenly got mad, turned back and asked him what he wanted. For some reason he didn’t stop singing his tacky song. So I calmed down and listened to it carefully, “ninunulie mandasi, ninunulie mandasi…” Meaning, (Buy me andazi…). I quickly slipped my hand into my handbag and got out a ten shilling coin and gave it to him; which is why I didn’t object to the Feeding Street Children Initiative a colleague proposed to me.
These children could be dirty, unruly, wild, or even filthy, but just like us they have a background. As we all know, every situation has a story and every story has a beginning. They, just like all of us were born in hospitals, and probably raised by able families. Whichever the case, they ended up in the streets trying to make ends meet.
There is never a right time to make them realize that they need not to be in the street, There is never a right time to lend a helping hand. The time is now.