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.
door Arjen Westra in Nairobi De Hagenaar Roeland Lelieveld (29) laat zien dat je met
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If my luck is bad And his aim is straight I will leave my life On the killing field You can see me die On the nightly news As you settle down To your evening mealâ€¦.