South Sudan: Surviving on Saliva of the Leftovers in Juba City!

Posted: August 17, 2019 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Commentary, Contributing Writers, Junub Sudan, Opinion Articles, Opinion Writers

By Madit Them Arop, Juba, South Sudan

Friday, August 16, 2019 (PW) — Living on leftovers is more than hunger alleviation but then it’s way to escape immediate death due to lack of food. Still the dilemma is, is life on the streets attractive and by choice? What are the factors lead to it?It’s believed thatevery life has variety of immeasurable contributing factors, either in degrees or by nature. The street kids, for instance, might have had dissimilar backgrounds but with common truth. They are part of citizenry who are said to have never had a chance to enjoy dividends others have in life. The lone hunger epidemics affected them at premature age, and the delicate hope is understood to be what keeps them up to the next days, though evidence suggests that their lives is full of chronic and continuous problems required undivided attention. Also, their future is covered with gloomy choices believed to have darkened their lifetime page. Conversely, viewers with correctable minds felt an urgent action is required to address problems of abandoned street kids wandering in Juba City and around the country.

This contribution attempts to share mixed voices produced through interviews held with street kids and interpretation reached is based on information obtained and considered to have exposed reality.

Street Kids as Less Humans

Factors affecting street kids relates to neglectful reality in the hands of authority concerned. The state’s failure to provide proper plan to help put an overhaul on outraging growing of street children is disturbing truth. As situation coerced, the vulnerable children aligned their feelings to being less humans. Abject life with no clear necessitated needs where streets are their comfort homes, picking thrown away leftovers as survival tips are strong indicators to the claim. The inescapable obscure life begs on two terms—albino and alien… which their ambitious minds claim to be associated with. 

 Albino and alien have led stage in terms of unrestful gaps in life these young kids encountered daily. Albino is literarily alluded to “a person having a congenital (inherited) absence of pigment in the skin and hair (which are white) and the eyes (which are usually pink),” according to Oxford Dictionary. It’s abnormal in some terms, while an alien refers to a person entered into another country other than the country of origin and stays as a foreigner.

However, views shared with these street children could shock majority with hurting certainty. Their feelings have deepened probability on assertive “less human” phrase versus “immaculate class” (the first and important class) in the country in their opinion.

 Mr. WY, a street kid’s active member had long narration in this analysis and others that followed.

In his mind, he expressed sincere failure of community and government in particular. He asserted that the government has failed to prepare future for street children by abandoning them, and that they have become like outliers who don’t belong to this nation.

 In his capacitated views, he had this:

I failed to comprehend the terms: Albino & Alien, but I got the hint. The situation made me to understand these terms in a hard way and they touched my nerves. But to my instinct, though they could be right, I am human with less humaneness to the world around me and have no clear necessities of my own. My needs have no meaning to the bigger biosphere o’er me. I am street roamer, they defined me. Whenever I starve to death, I prefer too, but options failed me short. Ceiling seem to close in and block the other side I longed for in years. The death side. Pain says no, fear stands as a guide, between the two, I reached nothing and I continued to have nothing.

Mr. WY persisted to stress on two importance questions related to painful life experience he soberly endured. 

The two burning questions arisen and wondered: who is me to me and who is me to them? I am incapable human, of course, resembling to others that I meets, human with nothing to offer. My needs are major bridge between me and them. The bridge is intentional, it’s deliberately put out to limit my rational demands, and focus on this needs is shifted whenever I managed to crawl closer. My trying actions demonstrate rejected signs conjecturing that I disturb the immaculate class who welcome the well-off few and brush aside those with critical needs. That’s me to me in brief.

But who is me to them? I struggle daily to fit in and mirror myself on national life care screen. Unpardonably, the environment takes me as an entity without proper category, a young being taken as human by chance rather by right.

The immaculate class has become double obstacles, according to Mr. WY and his friends. The rigidity proved that such class is “bad” and “lack compassion.”

I face unavoidable walls. I am kick out with a go away phrase…a repeated phrase exists for me to chase. Do they think I survive on air when I am told to stay away while I have nothing to attend to? I come close to dinner tables around the city seeking for fortune but appalling faces roar at me as if I am an alien who don’t belong here. Blessing I gets is insults baptism. Can lack of opportunities make me an albino because I have depressed, I deformed to look a little different and can this qualifies me to be treated like an alien? The lucky few who keeps their noses up in dusty city should lower their selfishness attitude. To me, our difference is based on opportunities they have; I am street roamer according to them, and are immaculate class as I see them. That is the difference plus greed without shame existed on egoistic line, which give them uniqueness to remain high, to never look down on their feet. I and others have become stumbling blocks.

Mr. WY is bitter because he lost value in the eyes of the immaculate class. Yet he held on to demonstrate his prominence as a person.

I am important, I must assure them. I may have different background but with common course. I maybe one but we are many scattered aiming along the unhelpful walls in den city whom we both claim to be our own.

I said I belong here, they thundered back, you don’t, if I do then I must linger to push and pull the proclamation wagon on my own.

You beggar, I am told, street kid, another painful name. Even kid is attached to the street and no one pays attention, can kid survive on the street? How possible is this? Is it for a right course?

There seems to have two imaginary wolves: they mighty one and local one.

Mr. WY is surrounded by “ghost” population who care with introvert vision; whenever he tries to understand, he encounters these unforgettable phrases: mind your own business and a gone case. As were explained, mind your own business directly attached to meanness. Give nothing for anything and when tough gets going then it’s treated as a gone case.

Gone case as road block subject to screen out things need no discussion even though possibility for discussion exist. Between mind your own business and a gone case scenarios, Mr. WY has considered being left to suffer minding his own suffering without turning to anyone because nobody is available, they could be seen accessible but in reality they have gone to mind their own businesses. Nobody interested in him, in other words, so everything is a gone case.

Moreover, his complain extends to health problem. Sicknesses caught me unnoticed, he argued. But what do I expect, my health is optional, my survival is optional, I occasionally open my arms to nature placing myself on impossible channel, asking to immediately relieve me, kill me please, I could beg, nature kill me, I am nothing, I can’t hold on, I have nothing to wait for.

Yet his favorite request is turn down, that is why he’s still disturbing the general public asking for specific issues. He said, I urged public to feed me, cloth me, treat me, accommodate me, and educate me.

However, he is told, in his view, to look for parents or close relatives to provide these necessities, if there is no one, then he relies on prophesy and accept to mind his own way of coping with a dead-end life.

Dogs as true companions

My true friends are from different class: the dogs, according to him. I whirl with them and parades with them at night as we share streets in cold, in darkness competing over the leftovers. We surround this immaculate class at meal tables as if we have been mandated to provide full security protection to them. Indirectly, we are connected, their presence keeps us on to see the next day. We visit trash centers daily searching for survival pieces. The immaculate class mouths are our factories. They grind and we pick drops.

Shockingly, nobody wanted to give us readymade while still clean and fresh. It’s thrown at us. As we struggle to separate dirt mixed with it, random stones and sticks are launch into our direction, an indication to chase us away. I feel better because I deserve to go permanently if it’s the intention; other times, anger pump all veins in rage.

For my friends, dogs, I do not know how they feel but I am quite sure we have the same interest, so we share the same feelings. We are team working for stomachs’ comfort, any opportunities slip by into our mandibles is deals with on immediate effect, no future plan, no saving on our vocabularies as saliva lickers’ class!

Nevertheless, I enjoyed variety of saliva, both for humans (the immaculate class) and that of the dogs. And for us in our field (dogs and I), it is who gets it first, the rest is probable, we collectively and enjoyably exchange saliva as we lick on scarce pieces. I pick, the dogs pick, and vice versa and we move on.

I have no choice so I pretend to have enjoyable shape on my face for personal gain and for personal risk. On the other hand, our lifeline has been hijacked by another class. I overheard that new recruits have joined us with strong sword dripping with jealous flame. As always, we patiently waited for leftovers to be thrown. But lately, the practice has changed the route.

The economic hardships have seized the chance relatively counted as breathing tip for us. The leftovers are no longer considered as “waste,” they have become “special scraps” payable for by others with fraction that can’t afford full board cost. The new class has new energy with interest to control everything: start with mistakes that may happen at the hands of those who may throw unwanted pieces to us, and that of keeping us at a reasonable distance from abandoned trays. 

Every now and then, there is a standby aggressive guy with baton in his hand ready to strike on unwanted class (saliva lickers) especially when encircling in to ambush tables with trays of leftovers. He could leap with stick up high and bitterly scream with insults as he growls to squeeze out anger in actions. We could stagger back with million glances at this heartless striker to avoid him. In such assailing process, most of us have lost their eyes, still, more exists with broken rips and limbs, and I can’t mention great folks who died on unreported wounds due to lack of health attention.

Before joining this end, however, there was what is called the National Ministry of Health, responsibly entrusted to provide health services in the country. We also had Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management whose immediate role is to offer shelter, feeding, counseling on traumatized class. Culture, Youth and Sport Ministry is not seen practicing its guidance role, because majority of leftover survivors are youth. These ministries cited are for formality only but hope has been lost already.

Selling out leftovers cheaply is another war some of us can’t imagine how life would continue. But wait, there is good news coming from one of the ministries. Other times I heard in the roadside news that the Ministry of Wildlife Conservation and Tourism had declared killings of dogs affected by scabies along with wild dogs; majority of us celebrated, since we are no different and we are tired of meaningless life, we welcomed the order long ago, until now it is being waited. When it is implemented, implementation begins with us, we will be relieved forever!

Position of the nation on street kids

While waiting, there is an unanswered question roam brains on what is the nation doing on this. Per known information, the nation assigned ministries supposed to handle increasing of kids on the streets. Two ministries are critical: Humanitarian Affairs and Youth, Culture and Sport. Both have full mandate to help at national level up to the states’ level, since every state is believe to have children on the roads.

From 2011 up to this day, children seen on the streets by then are no longer broods and have abandoned life of sleeping under verandas idly, but have rather advanced to certain level. One of the leaders assured that they have become major criminals capable to break into houses, shops, hijack vehicles, and assault people on the road sides in order to have something to survive. As unknown gunmen are so viral, it’s believe too that good number is from youngsters left to go astray in towns. As nation failed to plan for them, they decided for themselves. Robbing become the profession! 

Is life on the streets attractive and by choice? What are the factors led to choosing it?

According to Mr. WY, deficiency of choices has made street life attractive and it’s not by choice. Evictions or killing of parents made children ends up on the streets.

Whenever I overstayed without something to eat, he said, I must think and make immediate decision. And such decision must be on action, that’s why it’s seen daily people’s phones are snatch, purses are grabs, food items are picks. Most of us are not thieves by nature, some are, of course, but majority are wish hunters, the situation forced them, life in the bush is adopted, to survive you must have mind and muscles and you use those muscles well while knowing all risks are at your own expense.

To me, I prefer to commit major crime such as killing someone or break into vehicles in order to be arrested,” he confessed. “While in jail, I am feeds, cloth, stay in warm environment, other times, I could be taken out to clean the road like those in prisons or go for construction services, a good thing! These are great opportunities for us,” he paused.  

Other factors include having no parents or having irresponsible parents. Among them, they have three categories: without parents, with irresponsible parents, and run away kids from homes within town or outside town to town. Others migrant from small towns to Juba.  “I prefer committing this crime not because killing someone is good, but it’s one of the only ways I could be arrested or get killed, it’s for someone who is tired to live. I need to go, I have been trying to kill myself but I fear that I might not die immediately and then I would continue to suffer badly,” he asserted.

When asked what ways he ever thought of killing himself, he said by sliding himself into the busy highway such that it’s knock off straightaway by the vehicles, or throwing himself down from one of the bridges or network towers or hang himself, and if he had access to medicine tablets, too, he could do so as well.

In reality speaking, depressions have a role in this children’s life.

Kids are traumatized

These lone children have traumatized or experienced depression, the only sensible choice in their minds is to kill or be killed, one of the physicians emphasized. They have given up because no meaningful future ahead of them. Their minds are also empty as they have grown without proper nurturing, there is nothing to compare choices like killings and never to kill with, the physician elaborated. Comparison exists when there is access to other choices but they have nothing else, he continued.

At teen ages, differences amid good and bad starts to make clearer sense as one grows, but it is a vacuum space in this case. They got into rough life way earlier so it accumulates and formulated into depression during growing up process. The helpful factual basis to end street life is strongly recommended without delay, the physician advised.

Basic Approach to Ending Street Lives

The proposed approaches are put out in random emphasizing on logic and outcome intended to achieve. With these bulletin points, alleviation can happen and will continue to create window of improvement if implementation takes real course.

  • Put them under rehab facilities for attention
  • Introduce rule of law in specified centers; jail resisted ones for sometimes as a way to put them under correctional care to eventually get treatment needed 
  • Increase civil servant salaries and commit to pay on time every month in order to have take home package that works in the viral markets
  • Introduce trauma counseling centers with anger management courses
  • Train others in fields they fit in, such as technical even joining the police services; organize grown ones and transform them to help the nation in different sectors
  • Open orphanages’ schools with health centers for them to have education and other requirements
  • Erect cultural centers to help bridge traditional myths (gaps) in life (cultural orientation)
  • Cut V8 budget and other services such as flying business class on 45 minutes to 3 hour trips to support this approach and resort to Symbol brand vehicle driven by security officers in town for official staff as replacement for V8s’ reduction usage.
  • Empower relevant ministries by providing budget for needed resources
  • Reunite those whose parents are alive and allocate periodic support to the families
  • Place irresponsible parents (drunkards) on/under counselling and monitoring 
  • Arrange to have public lectures on issues related to trauma, depression, family upbringing (role of parents), major crimes (destructive consequences), rule of law, nation building, peace building, development, coping with economics’ constraints twice a month, broadcast on radios, TVs and publish on newspapers, make it mandatory for drunkard parents/street kids to attend.

Conclusion

The abovementioned contribution suggests suffering of street kids due to neglectful occurred within authority supposed to address their needs. It called on immaculate class who failed to welcome street children at dinner tables and instead strongly chased them without reservation, an action taken as a bad sign. Such category has been considered to have pushed future hope aside and have left them with choice to pick at garages in town or grab from those who haves in order to survive.

As a result, the children preferred death over living because life is no longer meaningful in their view. Failure of authority to carter for their basic needs (feeding, shelter, education, health and clothing) have added to this dissatisfaction. That is, an absence of basic needs is an absence of being humans, and so, they have no doubt to label themselves as less humans, categorically falling under albinisms or alienation channel.

The contribution also introduced basic end approaches taken as pathway to alleviate the street kids’ randomness, and by implementing them, the outcome could shed light in terms of future life improvement and will help them become true members of the general public where they exist as saliva lickers whose survival is on wish hunt choice. They survive on lack rather by right! 

Author is reachable at aropmadit@gmail.com

The opinion expressed here is solely the view of the writer. The veracity of any claim made is the responsibility of the author, not PaanLuel Wël Media (PW) website. If you want to submit an opinion article, commentary or news analysis, please email it to paanluel2011@gmail.com. PaanLuel Wël Media (PW) website do reserve the right to edit or reject material before publication. Please include your full name, a short biography, email address, city and the country you are writing from.

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