It is not a rare sight to see people in tatters roaming through the streets rummaging through piles of litter. The presence of street people is very noticeable especially the trading centers. They live in very extreme levels of squalor, suffering and despair affects them differently. The hopeless ones end up in drug abuse and end up having drug induced mental illnesses and the hopeful people make a living by doing odd jobs, rummaging among garbage cans across the streets. Due to their hopeless states, the apathetic attitude which people regard them with robs them off their human dignity.
Due to the deplorable nature of their lives, they don’t really care much about personal hygiene. In activities termed as “Operation keep the town clean” area residents mount a hunt and nab routine where all street people are bundled up, harassed and washed, scrubbed by detergent soaps and hard brushes, as onlookers cheer appreciatively. It is about time we cut these people a slack. We should stop, think and re-evaluate our views about them.
Every day, you will walk across a rather rugged person, dragging a sack of what appears to be litter. It happens in many towns, homeless street people are always picking up pieces of paper, banana peels among other things. Some are usually looking for food, some probably it’s an imprudent habit of picking litter, but at the end of the day street people help in conserving our environment. The irony is that the people busy shouting “osha yeye!” are the hypocrites dumping them out there.
When the same street people try asking for help from the public, they are shunned, abused and ignored by the many people passing by their outstretched hands.
A street child would be heard asking “Auntie, nisaidie 10 bob,”
“Ati auntie nisaidie? unanijua? Toka Karibu nami, Muone,Nenda ukaoge unanuka” the passerby would reply with acid mockery, lips curling back from the teeth in contempt.
This is very disappointing because, the person asking for help but is ignored and to add salt to injury, he is ordered to go clean up. A person with even no money to feed himself. Everybody gets from work tired and dirty, but you don’t get to tell that construction worker to stay away from you because they stink. Same to street people. It’s an occupational hazard. I can’t imagine anyone would spend their entire day and night rummaging through garbage and still smell like daisies and roses.
Leave alone the street families, look at your village “mad man”. They are always walking around picking waste and collecting them in their dirty sacks. Are we then the mentally challenged ones?
I think these people deserve a break from all the scrutiny that they face from us. In my opinion instead of parading and embarrassing them in public for their less than normal lifestyles, we could help them, by providing gainful employment as well as conserving the environment. The mentally challenged people would get paid to deliver litter to a central dumping area hence conserving the environment. Washrooms would be setup just next to the dumping area where they would be encouraged to maintain good personal hygiene, hence no more foul smells in the street.
We all have a role to play to curb environmental pollution; it should also be our obligation to look after the less unfortunate.
Remember Alex Chamwada’s insight on how we can turn gabbage into GOLD on the Chamwada Report.