These are observations made by Mama Salima, a vegetable seller, in the month of June, July and August as she told them to her daughter who noted them down:
A small boy joined the crew. He looks like a baby. I don’t know if he will survive the streets. Adrien welcomed him with a hard stare.
The small boy slept under the garbage tank. He was shivering in the morning with red eyes. He went with other kids. They came back with him in the evening. His eyes are blood red.
The small boy approached me and begged for 100Frw. It was an opportunity to talk to him. He said he left home because his father came home drunk and beat his mother. He said they would spend a week without eating. He started begging on the streets for money to get food until he couldn’t return home. The small boy is disappointed in adults. I give him 500Frw.
The small boy started taking drugs. This morning he was drinking cannabis sativa. His fellow kids call it ganja. He is weak but manages to stand and beg for money. A man in the car gave him 1000Frw today. He bought two slices of capati and more ganja.
The small boy went with other kids to steal used metals. They got a handful and sold them in kilograms. They were paid 300Frw each. He bought 3 slices of capati and drank glue after. These days he looks dizzy.
A girl named Mahoro joined the kids at the garbage. She looks like a 13 year old. She is quiet and shy. The small boy warned her that life is not easy there. She stays on his side.
Mahoro went with the boys to steal and was caught. The house owner where they stole beat her severely. She can’t walk properly now. This evening before I leave she was crying near the garbage tank.
The boys are rounded in a group. They are making noise. Someone is lying on the ground. The small boy is on the side, sobbing. I go see what’s going on… Mahoro is lying on the ground. Her dress is covered in blood. Her body has bruises. I scream and ask for help. We take her to the hospital.
10 am, The doctor says Mahoro was beaten and…raped. / 1:25pm, Mahoro is dead. There’s wailing in the room. / 3pm, the doctor asks for her family. No one knows where she came from.
The small boy begs for money to a passing beautiful woman. The woman stops and talks to him. The small boy made gestures and…smiled a bit. I never saw him smile before.
The woman came back to look for the small boy. She has a bag which she tends to him as he approaches her. The small boy went behind the garbage tank and came back looking clean and new. The woman took him away. They seemed happy.
We had a meeting at the district office to discuss of possible solutions to the increasing number of street children in our sector. A young girl raised her hand and was given a microphone. She said that no one chooses to be born, therefore if you are to bring a child on earth don’t make them regret your unsolicited choice. She said she is Mahoro’s sister.