The talking about poverty in the world is going on this week in Scotland at the G8 summit. Meanwhile people on this continent survive. Last night I was walking down the street near my place. I met Patrick, 16 years old, with the face of an 32 year old. Patrick is a tailor and he has lived in the streets in old clothes since I first met him three years ago. I could smell the glue. Patrick was high. He was happy to see me and I was honestly happy to see him. I promised him my shoes a few weeks ago but I didn’t see him anymore. Sometimes the streetguys are chased by the police. ‘Please Arjen, help me, I have a bed but I don’t have a house. I am a tailor…. I want to work for my future. I don’t want to steal.’ Suddenly some of those caracters that you meet when you are working here, passed through my head: The little Don David for example, 9 years old. I called him ‘the silent reporter’. He was abducted by rebels in the North of Uganda, drugged, forced to kill his friends so he would be a better soldier. He had a dream of going to London. Or the ladies I spoke to in Eastern Congo, last year. Raped by soldiers and husband and the rest of the family killed by soldiers and other things that you can’t imagine. A lot of these things have to do with poverty. As journalists, we have the chance to give these people a voice. People in London they have a voice if they want to share whatever happened to them, the media are there to record their opinion about a bomb attack, where they were, what they did and so on. Today in Africa, hundreds of people will die, voiceless. For me, living her, provides a G8 summit and the bombings in London with some perspective. Today I visited Mama Matunda, the lady with a fruit stall. Nairobi City Council chased her away weeks ago. Without a proper reason they completely destroyed her stall. I was passing the place where she used to sell her fruit salads. A young man looked at me and walked towards me handing out a flyer. ‘Mama has moved. Now she has a new market stall with fruit salads. At the official market’, says the flyer. The young man smiled at me: ‘I am her son. Are you coming?’ I realised what I see around me every day: people will survive here, whatever world leaders decide in Scotland this week.
Could job rotation for world leaders work? Ever wondered how Africa would look if we
Shelly Githonga is a Kenyan writer. Last year, her screenplay was selected from the catalog of the Kenyan Scriptwriters Guilt, to be produced. Days before the movies premieres, we talk to her. Who is the writer and what moves her to write about a serious subject as mental health?