The danger of being a street child. Hatched into a home without my consent, made to accept misery tied with blood, as a child I have known nothing but agony and I can’t even whine since I do not have a choice, they are my family anyways;
The agony of a street child
Aspiring for a lap of luxury only to be dragged by poverty and hunger, living in the creek was my greatest nightmare. I wish I could illustrate the drama I woke up to every day, day and night I hear the chants of the street boys, so acquainted with their slangs that it became a language, that unknowing to me I said “the way you, how e dey be” to Yar Fatimah, I was only trying to salute her please, don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t trying to be disrespectful.
I didn’t choose this life for myself, I was born into a lowly home where we survive on God’s mercy and we are fed by his grace, mocked by my peers as my clothings are intended to be rags for their homes, I maneuver through difficulties and pain, a child derided in school for not paying his fees. Why do I have to choke myself over a life that I didn’t choose for myself and I do not want. The pain and anguish I see on that plate yet I chose to endure and finish the horrible meal, do I have a choice? Well, this is the story of the little boy I met sometime ago, he was too tender hawking fruits that I couldn’t just look away.
The point is, we are made to endure terrible things in life, we are given crosses we didn’t choose for ourselves, homes known for trouble, poverty, lack, born into families that we are ashamed of but what can we do? nature chose those paths for us and expects us to either refine them or be defined by the existing struggles. Sometimes we see ourselves singing poems of sorrow and consolation, giving ourselves reasons to hang in there.
Like that child picturing a beautiful life out there but couldn’t grab it due to some circumstances, he ends up wallowing in pain and yearning for a life that is far from being fetched and in deep thoughts utter these words “who will break my chains and set me free, free to smile, free to live my life joyfully; every day I watch at other children, gorgeously dressed in their school uniforms accompanied by their parents, carrying colorful lunch boxes to go to school but my face has changed and becomes squared, carrying heavy containers and bearing produce to hawk the streets, who will make me happy and who will make me enjoy the blessings of childhood?”
Life is indeed, brimming with things we can’t explain, we want certain things but we can’t get them, we work hard only to be fed with the futility of our efforts, we aspire but they backfire, we wished for roses but we got thorns, we crave for love but we are faced by the struggles and war displayed daily at home, sometimes we want to run away, most times we question why we were born by our parents, oh, because this set of people are just not worthy to be called our guardians. These are the experiences of most kids out there.
On that faithful day in Lagos as I walked through the streets with my cousin, we got to a very congested path and walked in front of us was a little girl of about 7 years who was leading her drunk mum home, the little girl seeing her mum struggle and staggering without even realizing that the whole world was watching, the disappointment and embarrassment on the face of the girl made her call her mum “mummy” that call that indicates a tap to get back to your senses, that tone of disappointment, that look of please, can you stop embarrassing us, ‘people are watching’, ‘just control yourself’, why are you not like other mothers?”
I couldn’t help but feel so sad and bad for the little girl, who at a very tender age have known responsibility, she has tilted towards struggling, she has known what it means to be disappointed by a loved one, she has faced humiliation, I wonder what she got to face every day; is her mum always inebriated? What happened to her? How did she get to the point of being led home by a child-like blind person? Life indeed is unfair to that little girl! So, I imagined what the future holds for the little girl.
I know a lot of things happen and people get to be what they didn’t choose to be, but can we just think about our kids whenever we want to act. Can we not bring more children into the world and watch them suffer? Is it possible for us not to punish children for coming into the world? Why give a child a task meant for his mother? Why force them into taking responsibilities as fragile as they are? Why bring them into the world to starve them? Why expose them to danger? They are kids for crying aloud, they are still fragile and need your protection, they want to always have a happy ending, what do you expect of them when you are a complete opposite of a beautiful ending?
The kids needs our help, they are just children, let’s not take away their childhood, we shouldn’t force them into adulthood, the street isn’t even safe for them anymore, they are traumatized, chronically neglected, physically and mentally disregarded and exploited.
They are not all bad children, they are not thieves, they were forced into the streets to struggle so as to survive, sometimes they may exhibit certain traits that are negative and this happens because they were forced into a harsh reality, you wonder why they are so cold hearted, they are psychologically suffering and all they need from us is love and not people using them to achieve their selfish goals. Don’t continue to hurt them because they are vulnerable, let’s help reduce the number of kids in the streets who wonder in search of hope.