Wednesday, 6 June 2007

Breaking bones

As I strolled the town centre last sunday morning, I passed through Broadway which is a haven of street kids. I came across agroup of them fast asleep (they were about twelve) and they were sprawled all over like they had been knocked out by something. Two of them, a bigger boy and a smaller one were fighting over a bottle of bostik glue. Apparently the bigger boy wanted to grab the bottle from the smaller one who wasn't willing to give it away without a fight. So I inquired what the fuss was all about because it wasn't a worthy fight considering the stuff was suicidal.

They answered, “You see, uncle, the guys sleeping here can't wake up even if you shoved them about.” I asked why that was so and he went to say that they are unable to sleep during the night because it's so cold that you feel like your bones are breaking. He said bostic was the only thing that was keeping then warm and once it ran out, you were a goner. Try cuddling or putting on any form of warm clothing and it doesn't work. Fires are inviting policemen so we are doing away from them. We have to sleep low i.e. in hiding so basically we sleep in trenches or run down buildings were the police can't reach us. It's cold and it's the worst part of the year cos we long for warm shelter. Government is not doing enough for us cos even their program to send us to skills training camps is not suitable for us so we have no option but to run away. Uncle, you should try by all means to find a way out for us because we are willing to take up progressive programs.

I looked him deep in the eyes and asked him to convince me by quitting sniffing at bolstic. He grinned and assured me that once things became ok for him, he will quit. We made a deal. I looked at the other guys. They were still sleeping. I sadly bade farewell and moved on.