Monday, June 24, 2024

Heartbreaking Encounter with a Street Kid!

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Away from the murky world of politics, may I digress and zoom on one of the issues which I find close to my heart – Street Kids! As a member of a Royal family, one of the core values imparted in me during my formative years to remain stoic and take leadership even as the chips went plummeting down, furiously!

So when I came across an urchin rummaging through a dump site as a strong stench from a rotting dog carcass assaulted my nostrils one quiet afternoon, I didn’t harangue him but rather engaged him courteously. He discarded whatever he was nibbling and stood up as he tried to balance himself on his matchstick limbs, awkwardly.

“I’ve to do this everyday to raise money to help support my family,” he yielded to my interrogations regarding his presence at such an unlikely place. “My father abandoned us when my mother was critically ill……and I had to drop out school.”

He was in threadbare clothings and flip-flops which I thought weren’t serving any purpose at all as they had gaping holes in them. He was firmly clutching a soiled sack cloth which seemed to contain his only valuable earthly possessions. Why should someone be eating from the dump site in a country like ours? Why should they be literally in rags? Why should a toddler be the one to fend for his family? Why has society seemingly neglected him and his family? Mixed feelings raced through my mind in rapid successions like a whirlwind!

“I am 9 years old….” he replied cheerfully as if everything seemed normal in the world when he shouldn’t have been there in the first place.

I asked him to come with me as I sought to know about him and his family further. I learnt that he dropped out of school in grade 3. He was the only bread winner as his mother was still ailing to engage in any strenuous activities.

“I still want to go back to school so that I can become a pilot….” he said as he gazed at a chopper circling in the skies as it prepared to land at nearby Presidential Guest House.

He had 2 siblings…….a 12 year old girl who was equally lazing about at home and a breast feeding baby. Whenever he managed to salvage any scrap material of value, he’d sale it to raise money for food. Like most other kids, his favourite food was obviously chicken! However, when lady luck didn’t smile at him on what he considered a bad day and he didn’t stumble upon anything of value, then they’d have to go hungry or make do with plain porridge. I felt like somebody had just punched me hard in the stomach…..I felt like vomiting.

I promptly asked the boy to tell his mom I wanted to have audience with her whenever it suited her. There were a few things I needed to verify just in case Peter was being economical with the truth. Early next morning, we woke up to feverish knocking on our gate! The entire family had come calling. The boy had even changed into decent clothes as though he was coming for a job interview he intended to secure at all costs. Meanwhile, the child cried hysterically and threw its tiny limbs around, furiously as it laboured to tear off the blouse of its mother.

“She wants to breastfeed, but milk hardly comes out nowadays,” she explained, coyly.

They looked as if they hadn’t had a decent meal for ages……..they were literally teetering on the fringes of starvion!

“I don’t have much strength left to do work anymore due to my prolonged illness,” the mother was crying. “Each day that comes, we’ve to wait for my son to raise some money……”

I remained subdued for quite some time as I pondered their predicament. Why dear Lord? Is this the pain that some folks have to endure…….going without food for days on end without even any hope of ever coming into contact with water? I shuddered at the thought of these kids staying away from school well aware that they’ve been condemned to a perpetual life of pain and misery!

At that moment, I recalled the words of John F. Kennedy….arguably one of America’s great presidents, “Ask not what the country can do for you but what you can do for the country!” The challenge of street kids is not even a complex one that demand services of a Rocket Scientist to help us arrive at a practical solutions……What is required is just a bit of compassion from each one of us and then the problem is gone!

If you’re in government, have you put systems in place to ensure that your services are trickling down to vulnerable people in society, particularly the street kids? I even find this idea of randomly rounding up homeless people and putting them in detention as punishment, ridiculous! You ought to equip your citizens with survival means. And if you’re a Church, what is stopping you from running soup kitchens for those in need? If you’re a company, why aren’t you exercising corporate social responsibility by endeavouring to ameliorate the plight of our people in poor communities?

One of the attributes I treasure about Muslims is the emphasis they put on Alms Giving. Fellow Christians; what are you doing for those in need in your communities as commanded in the book of James? You surely don’t have to be Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos or indeed Aliko Dangote to spare a coin for those in need?

My wife and I have assured the family that we are going to buy uniforms and books for the kids next term and of course assist the mother with a bit of money to start a small backyard business on condition that she helps out with cleaning at our house once in a while.

May those with contrary views add their voices….

Prince Bill M. Kaping’a
Political/Social Analyst

22 COMMENTS

  1. The never-ending issue of street kids has no end sight and has gotten worse in the last 30 years. It all starts with house discipline. No matter how many children you bear, the advantages of great house discipline make a family great at their level whilst succeeding at avoiding a gateway to offspring becoming street kids. The question of poverty being the cause of making things worse is not concrete but ignorance in social behavior leads matters getting worse rapidly. Overbearing offspring, restricting your family in a place of economic challenges makes it hard for families to managing on a daily basis. Parents, stop throwing your children onto the streets.

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    • Street kids should be catered for in the social cash transfer budget. Those who are 16 and above be given priority when ZNS and the Army recruiting. If there’s a group of people who need attention, it’s them first.

  2. One effort from you and your family goes a long way. Kudos to you Bill.
    And yes, in your last piece on this subject you did state that rounding up such people and making announcements that a certain number of junkies have been arrested isn’t a solution at all.
    You have rightly challenged the government and the church as well. Churches need to open soup kitchens and even allow their churches to be used as night shelters. Let the offerings work as opposed to fattening preachers.
    Deliberate action is needed by the government. And the act of having chased street vendors will make things worse for such people.

    • It’s very disheartening especially when these animals called HOMOSEXUALS are taking advantage of vulnerable children and indulge them into satanic acts just for a loose change to buy food.

    • Abash you are worse than a dog. If you and a dog was on fire, I would save the dog and leave you to burn to death. Lgbt rights are coming to zambia soon. Live with it or leave!

  3. ( Ba Kapinga) .. continue raising the awareness about this plight on lusakatimes. Work with guys like INDEPENDENT OBSERVER. In reference to HH addressing pensions, I read his post yesterday on the contribution INDEPENDENT OBSERVER has done by adopting 5 street children that he is now educating and supporting. He also encouraged bloggers in diaspora to help with the least they can afford. I have seen some of the projects in Zambia such as buying books, desk, uniforms for many children and does not draw himself and let the world know about it.

  4. Abash Homosexuality In Zambia #

    You are a true patriot.
    Gay people are worse than pigs !!
    Ati…. I was born gay. No you were not born. You are just sick and you just dont know that your sick !!

    • How about proving that scientifically? Prove that according to science you were born gay. You will try and try but Its not possible

    • research shows that sexual orientation is caused by biological factors that start before birth.

      People don’t decide who they’re attracted to, and therapy, treatment, or persuasion won’t change a person’s sexual orientation. You also can’t “turn” a person gay. For example, exposing a boy to toys traditionally made for girls, such as dolls, won’t cause him to be gay

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    • Warner @#

      I fall asleep after having sex with a woman. I don’t worry about bleaching my body with antiseptics chemicals due to faeces smeared all over me. Or even rush to change bedding because there is faeces all over. You f** ckin dirty pig.
      The very fact that you have sex with another man confirms that your mind is sick. As for science, there is no such prove. This is just a campaign by gay people trying to convince the world. Point us to such prove and science. Ask HH to bring up a referendum and see if Zambians wil vote to legalise f*ckin homosexuality. You will get a massive NO to homosexuality. Its obviously eating and bothering you. That’s your problem not mine.

    • Islamagud @

      @Wagner cannot provide scientific proof. I have challenged him twice to point us to scientific proof, by scientists.

      Some dumb gay scientist wrote a document about fake research. It was debunked by 25 scientists from USA, German, Japan, Sweden, UK, German. Among the 25 scientists, 4 of them were actually gay scientists as well. This guy’s data was just manufactured from koookooo land using formulas that was wacko. He was humiliated and condemned.

    • You have failed to have a constructive debate and have resorted to insults. You are probably a bored teenage dependant going through puberty who is angry at the world. Engage me when your testicles have dropped and your brain has fully developed.

  5. Bill M. Kaping’a the issue of street kids/families grew exponentially due to the 10yr economic destruction wrought on Zambia by the rotten PF leadership.

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  6. Dear Homosexuals

    Myself I am just wondering. No animal in the world goes and plays with its own poopoo after having a shhiiit. Surely if you saw a man in the streets extracting poopoo from his backside and play with it in his hands. You actually think of him as a mentally sick person. Now imwe ba gay or homo what you do is an act of being insane based on the example I gave. How do you level this argument.

    • Dear mentally challenged time&life,
      Myself I am just wondering. No animal in the world goes and plays with its own urine after having a pet. Surely if you saw woman in the streets extracting urine from her vaglna and play with it in her hands. You actually think of her as a mentally sick person. Now imwe ba insecure heterosexuals what you do is an act of being insane based on the example I gave. How do you level this argument.?

  7. Kaping’a is highlighting a humanitarian issue. It is a multi partisan issue. Don’t throw the baby with the bath water.

  8. How come a persons plea to have us all act humanly to see and do something to help one child and his/her family to get along for some more time. With ultimate goal to get the child to go to school and ultimately prosper start a homo discussion???
    I am a married man, and absolutely not homo or anything. But please, leave out your comments out of this, and read and learn /act on what he says!
    If you want to blabla about homos, do that elsewhere. Come up with ideas and perhaps solutions for one kid with his or hers family each one of you.
    This issue with street kids is a shame that all need to react to.

  9. Street kids were first manifested soon after Privitisation during Chiluba’s rule.
    The IMF should own the scourge and shame.
    We Zambians have unashamedly just been spectators!

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