One and a half children in Zambia live on the streets. AIDS orphans, or the victims of rural poverty, most live in the capital Lusaka, where they scratch a miserable living to the best of their ability, living the law of the jungle.
They manage to eat, when they can, by scavenging, stealing or receiving food supplies from Christian missions or aid agencies. Some spend days without eating anything, others find scant relief from their hunger by sniffing “jenkum”, a mixture of human excrement, glue and petrol.
The smaller or younger boys are often beaten, robbed of money and food and sexually abused by the older or larger ones. It is the law of the jungle. Christian missions declare that they are doing all they can but cannot address the root causes of the problem, while the President, Levy Mwanawasa, states that his government “is trying to do everything possible”. However, in a country with 25% suffering from AIDS and a life expectancy of 37, there is a limit as to what it can do.
The international community has pledged 1.3 bn. USD in aid. The government has no resources. Zambia has its hands tied with a 6 bn. USD foreign debt. The children continue to starve. They sleep on pavements. They sleep in abandoned cars. They sleep in the gutter. They sleep in drains, huddled together. For warmth.
Timothy BANCROFT-HINCHEY PRAVDA.Ru
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