Take a walk down the Nairobi streets. Life seems so normal… From sound blazing Public Service Vehicles snaking their way into the heart of the town to Motorcycle riders shoving the pedestrians along the foot paths, everybody seems to care about their own welfare. Most daily papers have described it as a city under the Sun. That is a true statement considering the fact that most of the city dwellers thrive under the sun. But unfortunately some feel its heat the most. Those who are left with no choice but to dwell in its narrow streets. Those who find solace in picking some few cartons spreading them across the street when it’s Isolated deep in the dark. They have been named the street families.
The streets families are awakened from their sleep by loud screeching sounds as the door of the businesses are opened. They stand and stretch. They pick their cartons to face a new harsh reality of life. One item that almost all of them never lack is glue firmly gripped in their hand. At least they always manage to place it safely for it to see another day.
Most street families have always managed to maintain a cordial relationship between themselves and the cobblers. They supply them with the glue at a relatively cheaper price or even sometimes for free depending on their interaction skills. Glue is their only source of hope. They sniff it first thing in the morning. They can’t stomach their feelings of hopelessness and their slimmer chances of making it into another day. They want to go about their daily activities without clear sense of mind. They cannot just handle the pressure if they are sober. It’s almost impossible. From Police brutality, County Council harassment, being suspected by the general public for any crime committed in the city, going hungry sometimes during the day, sleeping in the colds at night without any form of cover or shelter and to some extent some of them losing their lives after being knocked down by reckless and drunk drivers during the night it is always a mess to dwell in the city.
Most of them have been made to believe that glue sniffing has positive effects to their well beings mostly from their experienced counterparts. More over most of them affirm that sniffing glue makes them satisfied even without taking a meal. Some of them also have no doubt that after taking the substance; the cold vanishes from their bodies and makes them much warmer. Others have even gone to the further extreme by believing that the glue clears out the toxic chemicals from their nervous system and makes them more energized to face the day and also allows them to wear a smile on their faces.
It is very clear that the street families and their love for glue cannot be separated. They literally worship the drug. It’s almost impossible to convince them about the damage the glue can cause to their health system. But the best thing any human can do is to make them feel loved and appreciated and may be in doing so, they can open up and indicate their willingness to change and adapt healthy living styles.
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