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I also want to feel loved: Recounts of a street kid Printable Version PRINTABLE VERSION
by Joseph-Peter, Australia Feb 27, 2004
Child & Youth Rights   Interviews
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Meet Mike, a kid, ignorant about his age, who was ushered into the street after the death of his mother. He has been living in an abandoned vehicle on one of the main streets of Lusaka for close to two years now. Mike recollects the day when his brother, a friend and himself jumped onto a train headed for Lusaka from Livingstone town, which is about 472 kms away in search for solace.

Mikes mother had no formal employment and was only going around houses in the neighborhood trying to find jobs such as washing, gardening, and cleaning to earn a living. Her husband had left them when Mike’s young brother had not even started crawling yet. Up to now, his whereabouts are not known. She never introduced her kids to any relative apart from the man who Mike describes as having been her lover. The man usually went to their home and he could take them some food at times. He was the only person who was in the lives of the children and who was there when the mum died. He also disappeared later leaving them vulnerable with nowhere to go. Mike defends the man’s decision of leaving them saying that he too had a life to live or maybe a family to take care of and he thinks they were just going to be a burden for him.

Upon reaching Lusaka, Mike’s young brother was taken away by a man who claimed that he was taking him to a better place. Memories of his lost brother seem to trouble him a lot, as he does not know where he was taken. He hopes to see him again if something terrible has not happened to him for he can’t trust anyone and besides if he were around when the brother was being taken, he would have opted to stay with him.

Survival on the streets has not been easy for Mike. The utmost he makes in a favorable day is K 5,000.00, which he uses to buy some food, and going to the barber man on occasions to have his haircut. He further recounted that some days are tough such that he even fails to nurture money for a meal hence he has to go to bed on an empty stomach. In addition, by the time I was talking to him, he said that he had not had any food for the past two nights. Sometimes, after having worked hard during the day, those who can hardly defend themselves tend to loose their monies to bullies who come to terrorise them. They are usually threatened to be beaten or perhaps being killed if they retaliated.

Violence in the streets is another vice that Mike has partisipated in. He said apart from the bullies, we witness big boys beating young ones so badly and at times, they fight each other. In the recent scene he watched, he saw two big boys fighting and one ended up being stubbed in the neck. He did not die right there, but he might have died later. He went on to say that some sights are horrible and unbearable to watch thus he usually flees to his home when such is happening.

Inquired about how he and the three other friends sleep in the deserted vehicle turned home, he said that it does not at most bother them about how they sleep stating that they have many other things to worry about than sleep. “At most we sleep on empty stomachs, how can you worry about where to sleep, you can’t,” he lamented. In winter, which is the coldest season of the year, Mike alleged that they have no other option but to brave the cold. Since most of them only have one pair of clothing, they have nothing to keep them warm thus; they have no option but to get used to the cold. He further stated that for some, they usually sniff Bostik to keep them warm. Bostik is a mixture of petrol and cello particles, which tend to melt and form some sort of concentrated liquid that they inhale. This mixture is snuffled from the bottles.

Asked how the bostik is related to keeping warm, Mike echoed with a bit of doubt that he was not sure but he believed that when too much of that stuff is sniffed, one tends to get high and you simply don’t feel the hustles around you. Most guys have clung to it despite knowing that it was dangerous simply because it helps them forget about their problems. It has the very effects of alcohol.

Avoiding the temptation of smoking or taking part in the sniffing has been the greatest challenge Mike has been faced with from the time he was whisked into the hands of the streets especially when the going gets tough. He said that he has avoided those temptations because doing such will only end his short yet troubled life. He narrated that a certain man had warned him about the dangers of smoking and sniffing of bostik. The man told him that his lungs could be intoxicated if he were to take part in that and that he might die faster than hunger could kill him.

The other thing that has kept Mike away from indulging in such vices was his knowledge about God. Mike acknowledges God’s hand in all the things that he is going through. He says that God ordains all things and that one day he will rescue him. Each Sunday, he goes to a church near the railway, which happens to be the most church attended by street kids. The church preaches God’s word to them and thereafter they are given some food. ‘I will always learn to hope and trust upon my God’, he says.

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A wise man once told me that there are only two best weapons that you can have in this world: a pen and your mouth. The good thing about these two weapons is that they don't run out of ammunition, unless you decide to stop firing. That ammunition is words.

I am a person who is vocal but I have come to know that when I write about something, I write it with total consideration and commitment, more so than I do when talking. I have a passion for writting. I believe that scripts are capable of changing lives of many - including the author.

I trust in words and as long as I play with them in the right way, they are able to get me either into or out of any situation.

Let words battle it out for you.

Gopi krishna Bhattarai | Apr 6th, 2004
the article u write is touchable.

Its a tough world we live in
Samson Nduleme Onwusonye | Mar 18th, 2004
Mike is a picture you find everywhere, in the village as a young girl dreading genital mutilation, in war torn regions as a refugee, in the prison yards, and even in public schools! There are hardly any solutions to these problems in the society, these suffering and hardship can only be minimized, and that is saying plenty. First most street-wise kids and kid soldiers have become hardened that appeals may not be enough to accept them to an average home. They become the government's problem. Female kids prostituting would most likely not have a decent man propose to them, they grow old in the profession. Prevention is the key word. Genital mutilation should be outlawed (thankfully this is the case in most countries), prostitution be prohibited and kids (including adults) should never be allowed to make under bridges etc their homes, this is a veritable breeding ground for future robbers. Forgive me for saying this, but I would not allow someone like Mike come stay with me, and I think I am speaking for millions!

Children without Homes
Sardar Taimur Hyat-Khan | Apr 19th, 2004
The SOS program of homes for homeless children is the best way of dealing with this problem. SOS Austria has done a great service to humanity and this needs support. Please find SOS resources near you and support them. Also see if you can start a Children's village. Timur sardar Taimur Hyat-Khan Chairman for Khidmat (Service Foundation) Pakistan & Azad Kashmir

Yeah,they need help.But how?
Mwangi munyua | Apr 29th, 2004
I really identify with Mike's case.In Kenya the situation is not much different and the likes of Mike are to be found in all the major cities across the country.But there is a ray of hope .A pilot project is being undertaken in Nairobi,Kenya's capital where the kids are collected and after bei8ng rehabilitated at various social centres in the city,are enrolled into the national youth service where they undergo vocational training and are armed with skills to enable them work and earn a living .With support from the public and other partners,the govt has trained about 600 former street children and our city streets now have a markedly fewer number of street families.I'm positive that with commitment and willingness from the govt ,other countries like zambia can also initiate such projects and become a success.Or what do you think?

kevin anyim | Jun 8th, 2004
After reading test about about MIKE, I personally supported to rendered him a help but we have to look very well and got informations of reality and will be very sure of the story before doing anything help. The above is my suquestion if not been carefull the help will look like if you are poilling salt into the sea. Thanks. Kevin Anyim.

carefully help
kevin anyim | Jun 8th, 2004
After reading test about about MIKE, I personally supported to rendered him a help but we have to look very well and got informations of reality and will be very sure of the story before doing anything help. The above is my suquestion if not been carefull the help will look like if you are poilling salt into the sea. Thanks. Kevin Anyim.

street children
katanagi penelope dorothy | Jul 4th, 2004
the problem of street children is a very serious one, afterall the child is the future, so more emphasis and seriousness should be put on this matter.penelope in uganda

Nourhan Mohammad Aboulabbas | Jul 16th, 2004
Reading this made me unable to think of anything except the the crulety of the world we live in. A reality where children have to suffer that much is one that can hardly be described as beautiful, but rather as brutal and ugly. Thinking about this breaks my heart, I wish there is something we can do to change this.

Socialisation at the root
melissa | Aug 8th, 2004
I often spend time talking to the "mishangas" on the streets of Lusaka. These are the older street boys that have learnt how to suvive in the steets, selling cigarettes, drugs, stolen goods, fruit or toys... their knowledge of the city and its dwellers is immense... What i have come to understand and accept is that once the boys have learnt how to survive on the streets they often fail to keep jobs of other types, trying for a while but eventually landing up back to what theyre used to.. The root to solving the problem is in cases as Mikes when they are young and vulnerable to the harsh reality of the life they did not chose to be a part of. The aid and often rehablitation of these younger kids is what Zambia and other countries similar situations need to concentrate on. Often govts put money into helping a large number of street children as the case in Kenya, with a very low success rate....... Like everything else in life is there a selection process....

my knees
atinukemi oshodi | Aug 14th, 2004
everytime i see or hear about street kids like mike,i can only fall on my knees and thank God for my life.it is unfortunate that mike has been born into the direct hardship of life without his choice.i believe his story is a reason to appreciate life and to support life. people like mike should not be judged or condenmed becos of the situations or deeds, we must not also becos we could have been there and he could have been the one to hear our story. i believe the government should be the saving grace to mike and thousands of his kind.but sincerely,must government are impossible which boils down to non governmental associations or organisations like sos.and other humanitarian homeless orgs.individual or community contributions too, go along way in slashing street kids to half or more.

Moana Brooker | Aug 26th, 2004
I cried after eading Mike's story and i feel like an insignificant bystandre unable to do anything but feel for Mike but is that enough? Living in a country with so much opportunity and support for those dealt a harsh life like Mike i am angered at the daily complaints of those vain people around me of not having the latest fashion trends or having an overprotective parent. So much we take for granted and so much we have, yet there are still kids like Mike living out there, the one thing i am scared to admitt is that Mike is probably a more nicer and considerate kid than some of my own family and yet he is suffering. It just doesn't seem fair.

Growing up....?
Emeka | Sep 3rd, 2004
In one's early life..., whether as a young adolescent or a young adult, there is always the need for a learning process. Mistakes are to condemn one for life..., rather a preparatory towards life realities and expectations too..... Ability to get up as many times as possible when down..., determines one's eagerness to strive for survival...... so.., it's better to pick up as quickly as you realise your mistakes..., makes amends where necessary..., and life continues.... Never give up on yourself..., 'cause life holds so much in future..., and only the strong can uphold till the very end.... Keep trying..., never get deterred..., even when weary......

Let's Help
enat | Oct 4th, 2004

love, life and its misfortunes
avril fairclough | Oct 29th, 2004
Everyone needs to be loved by at least one other person even if they are trying to grow up. i feel really guilty to be sitting here with so much whilst he doesn't but that is a fact of life. life is by no means fair. It doesn't mean we carry on doing what we are donig with no thought for them but merely to realise that the world doesn't evolve around us and that when we find something to complain about there are many more people who requiire it more. be grateful for what you have-even share it, donate it or help someone else less fortunate then yourself. Mike's story was great, you write well!

A friend in need is a friend indeed
ShahidSaju | Nov 20th, 2004
It will not be out of place if I say that this world is a miracle and open proof of Gods presence no matter what science says. Therefore all the presence in this world is creature of God no doubt. We should praise and follow the rules and regulations of our creature who created us all. One of the foundation key to success and please our creator is to love others the way we love to ours. This I extend my hands to shake for friendship and help I could do for others. Hope the same from you too.

Beautiful creations of this world
ShahidSaju | Nov 20th, 2004
The system and artistic display of the articles of this world represent the creator and His nature. Beauty is really life. Love beauty as things that have beauty creates joy and spirit in our life. What a beautiful poetic stanza said by some one "THINGS OF BEAUTY IS JOY FOR EVER" I believe in this.

RMakeham | Nov 22nd, 2004
The story about Mike homeless life had brought back some of my childhood memories of what it was like for me living on the streets in America! It wasn't pretty then, I too had to struggle for a meal, and I know what it is like to go to bed hungry many times over, the dangers lurks everywhere no matter where a child is force to lived at on the streets, there are pimps who prey on children and the druggies too, sleeping in abandon cars, hiding out up a tree to saved my own neck, seeing other kids being beaten, having bottles and rocks thrown at you, being blamed for something you didn't do, it is hard life indeed to grow up too fast as a child of the streets.

God Have A beautiful plan For Mike
chiquitita nelche yolanda | Nov 22nd, 2004
It' getting hard to understand the way of this life. Mike' s just one of the example of the homeless child. there're still so many others who live their life like that. How could it happened? maybe it's all because nobody wants to care about their suffer. just like me i'm really sad to know that problems, but i couldnt' do anything now i'm just a teen, but i just only can pray that God will open somebody's heart to help the people like Mike, cause i'm sure that God have a beautiful plan among this problems.

hussein hashim | Jan 12th, 2005
Mike's story is not new.The fact that the author of this article thought it wise to comment on this important issue is an indication that there are still people who feel for the plight of the less privileged.I was disappoinnted to read Samson's comment about rendering help to people like mike.It is essential to note that some of these people never set out to end up in the streets.Sometimes, as in the case of Mike, circumstances play a highly pivotal role in turning people's lives and aspirations upside down.I quite agree with Melissa on the contention that it is difficult to rehabilitate street kids,But shouldn't we keep trying?

batool | Mar 5th, 2005
I liked the story very much and it's so touching ...but i think to the real facts of the streets in night nowadays mike is soo lucky bcoz the truth is that these young ppl who live in the streets r going through alot they see things no one can stand and if we didn't try to help them they'll end up dead or they'll do some criminal things to live or they'll just continue living this way so PLZ anyone who has the power or can help don't hesitate bcoz u don't know u might end up in the streets oneday

Beautiful story- very touching
Chandru Kalro | Apr 13th, 2005
This is a very heart wrenching story. How can we help Mike and others?

Dieu Hoa | Jul 1st, 2005
This story itself has waken up everybody in the world. Mike is just one of homeless children all over the world. They themselves have to cope with this difficult and unfair life day by day without their parents' care. They should have got a house to live peacefully, gone to school and had a beautiful childhood just like other children in the world. We are so lucky that we have our own families and our own houses. I'm sure everyone has seen plenty of homeless children living in the streets, but what have you donefor them??? Have you done anything or just tried to ignore them? I think it's time for everyone to wake up. We should do something to help those poor children, for instance we can build houses and take care of homeless children in our local area. It's difficult, ofcourse. But if everyone tries their best to do this, I think homeless children all over the world will have a better life and a bright future in a short time.

Life is not always a bed of roses
Olushola Agbaje | Jul 16th, 2005
Nice write up by the author,but one thing that cross my mind when i was reading the storyof mike was that even when one is from a bad background he/she can still right the wrong.Although people tend to be lakcadaisical in one way or the otherprobably, when things are not moving simultaneously.but then one decision determines he's /her destiny.mike's case is a very sympathetic story.i wish him brightest future as he move ahead to find a way out for the society of his life .But lets help mike to make headway in life.as frantz fanon saiad "every generation out of he's or her relative obscurity wil discover he/ her own mission,it is left for him / her to either fulfill it or betray it" lets fulfill ours by giving mike a helping hand.

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