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Alba Iulia
Wednesday, September 28, 2022

The Survival of a Boy Child on the Streets

Columns The Survival of a Boy Child on the Streets

By Norman Kapata

WE have seen an increase of street children on our streets and I recently had an opportunity to have interviewed a street child to find out what has made him to lead such kind of life.

The name of the boy has been withheld because he is a child and needed to be protected, here is what he shares.

I usually wake up as early as 05:00hours every morning after a long night on a torn mat in the sitting room which is turned into our cool bedroom after every nightfall.

We have found ourselves in a two-roomed house because my parents cannot afford a more decent house.

I am the firstborn and aged 10years with three of my little brothers from the same father and mother.

My father is a charcoal trader and the income he generates from his business is not enough to meet our daily needs as a family sometimes we would go to bed without food and sometimes we just drink water to keep us living.

So as always every morning I usually wake up early to help my mother who is a housewife to wash the plates and sweep our small yard.

When it’s 07:00 hours with my friends we leave our home to go into town while our other age-mates would be going to school or would be sleeping in bed.

On the other side of life we find ourselves heading into town with big empty sacks on our back to look for empty mineral water plastic bottles in drainages, dumpsites, dust bins which we collect and take for a sale to bring food and bread to our parents’ homes.

It’s not an easy task for a young boy of my age as we walk from one shop to another looking for our “gold” on a good day you can be done by 14:00 hours to fill up the sack, but on a bad day, we are made to walk long hours.

Sometimes we are chased from various buildings and premises in our quest to make a living as some people think that we love doing what we do like visiting dump sites.

Its hunger that has forced us and circumstances beyond our control to pick the empty plastic bottles.

We the little boys are helping out to bring food to our homes so we beg society not to treat us as criminals or outcasts.

The streets today are full of street kids not that we want to be on the streets it’s because our parents are failing to keep these homes and bring food home.

In some homes, it’s us the so-called small boys or street kids who are feeding our families from these plastic bottles we collect and sale.

We sometimes spend the day under drainages to rest and make plans as to which route to take and at times we spend the lunch break at the back of some Restaurants to find food leftover from the tables for survival.

Sometimes we are chased from other restaurants but if you are lucky and come to find the owner who has a good heart you are made to wash plates and in return you are given a decent meal.

Well, such is life after the hurdle with meals we return into the streets with our sacks on our backs.

But at times I think of what my siblings back home on how they are surviving but I only trust that God is taking care of them.

When we are done collecting these empty plastic bottles we head to Choma’s biggest open trade market at Makalangunzu where the buyer of these items gives us cash at the spot of delivery.

After being paid I usually buy a smaller pack of mealie meal popularly known as ka ‘Pamela’, some vegetables, 300ml of cooking oil, salt, and sugar.

After I am done buying these items and most times it’s usually around 16:00hours I would rush home for my mother to cook.

When I get back home my mother would welcome me and starts preparing for supper our meals are usually of vegetables and dry Kapenta.

We usually eat beef Or chicken during Christmas mostly after my father has a good sale of charcoal as the demand that time around is high and after saving for the festive season but the other days it’s nshima with vegetables.

When mum is done cooking we would sit around with my little brothers to eat what God has provided us for that day and as usual, we have jokes together as a happy family and also have fun while enjoying our meal

After we are done eating we usually get our plates and pots inside the house to prepare for the night

This is how my day ends and think of how tomorrow will be and this is how my future is going to be because if I do not go into town to look for empty plastic mineral water bottles for sale my little brothers and parents will die of hunger.

My dreams of going to school are a nightmare as who will take me to school and pay for my school fees.

Only GOD him alone knows our future

The Author is a retired Journalist & current President Of the CHOMA PRESS CLUB


  1. This is what Edgar Lungu calls, “Zambia better than they found it”.

    Zambia is better because he has enriched himself and he is a thief.

    PF must go!

  2. The way people think in Choma, this is why there so many street kids.
    Why you hide the street kid’s ID, how can people reward him?

  3. A f00l is one who thinks a kid needs to be protected by not revealing his name rather than actually helping the kid. The author is an irresponsible politically biased goat. We can see where he hails from and that in itself says alot.
    As for silly upnd supporting diasporans, even the countries you ran to have street beggars and homeless people. Every nation has less unfortunate people that have fallen on rough tough times. As a citizen you have a duty to help rather than interview less fortunate people to satisfy your appetite for poverty p0n0graphy

  4. All this happening under the PF pro poor government. What wickedness!! Then they will go jogging tomorrow morning to burn their calories after eating too much beef. Shameless!! After 2021 with Mr. HH as furher, no child will be left behind. 18 million Zambians will all be counted. No phony fire tender deals. No buying overpriced second hand aircraft. Imagine this, Cristiano Ronaldo’s jet costs $55 million and our kateka wants to move in a $400 million private jet. Wake up Zambians, you have a ganster in plot one. Abramovich’s yacht doesn’t even cost that much and he is an oligarch. WTF?

  5. Kaizer Zulu, you are right to say that there are people living in the streets in the developed countries as well, BUT you are wrong to think that CHILDREN do. Most of people who live rough in the western countries do so by CHOICE, either running away from the law, drug using or just not interested in taking advantage of the many social welfare programs available. Some come from broken homes where there was abuse, but believe me Mr Zulu, there are lots of charities like The Salvation Army, the Churches, etc which are feeding these people and giving them a warm shower whenever they need it. This is not the same in impoverished (not poor) countries like Zambia.

  6. Just writing from your own imagination…..be part of solution and not the problem….useless Journalist you think everything has to be fiction….street kids are suffering on the streets and you the audacity of writing imaginary story with an invisible fictional character…makaka iwe

  7. how does edgar chagwa lungu sleep at night knowing his corrupt government has caused so much misery and the rise in street kids?

  8. @patriot go ask your f00lish mother. As for the saint, who is to say that those kids have also escaped abusive homes and due to substance abuse are shunning the help from charity homes dotted around the country. Don’t be ignorant and always think your slave masters countries are better. Be objective.

  9. Bwana Zulu i can’t imagine that this is coming from you.I’m not trying to condemn you.You have valid points but the way you are coming out is not helping the nation.You know when a normal person is exchanging punches with a mad person,onlookers will think both of you are mad.I plead with you to lead by example and be a role model to all of us.

  10. Just $4million from the $25 million profit the theives stole from the 42 million fire truck scam would go a long way to fix street kids situation in any town

  11. In the FIC reports scams and Auditor General’s reports every year the culprits go unpunished. Now you can imagine how far those stolen funds can go in addressing the suffering and miseries of street kids and other vulnerable people. If K2m is ‘nothing’ let them dish it out to the parents of those kids on the streets so they venture into businesses. Last evening on news I saw Clement Tembo dishing out money for fuel to Livingstone taxi drivers. Ndipo kuzankala kantu next year!

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