AFRICAN STREET CHILD - Abiodun Lambaba Blog



Sunday, 29 March 2020


I was posted to teach in one of the primary schools in a local area after my NYSC. Indeed, there was poverty in the land and the primary school happened to be the only good structure around. This area wasn't far away from a rough town that was always busy. You could see both children and adults running or moving fast to no specific destination, in the name of making a Living. “These people are really suffering” was what I said to myself when I got into the school for the first time. None of the students looked healthy, not even the teachers and I knew that I had to make a positive impact before my last day here and I was going to start from my class. So, I kicked off, every day when I entered into the primary 5 class, I always had something to share with the pupils, both eatables and words of knowledge. I wanted them to understand that no matter how their background was, it didn't determine the future. Though my strategies were good and the response was average, there was a boy who didn't budge. I later found out from the principal that he was the oldest in the class after repeating six times due to his inability to pay the school fees. He was always cold in class and his eyes were always teary like there was a lot he wanted to let out but couldn't seem to say.
 So one day, I came to class and after my usual taunting and normal class activities, it was time for pep talk and I decided to enlighten them about an African Street Child, the joy and the fun they had. I used my childhood as an example for them. How I played with sand, built cars using cartons and the likes. I could see the mysterious boy getting interested and I added more fuel. At the end, I told them to all go home, write an essay about their own childhood with the theme "The Fun of an African Street Child". They all seem excited. I told them to write about things they did and how they played and they were to submit by Friday.
 Friday came like every other day and my pupils trooped in apart from the mysterious boy. They submitted the assignments and we kicked off immediately into the day's work. When the class ended and all the pupils had gone, I decided to stay back and read the assignments. While going through, I saw the name of the mysterious boy on one of the paper. I was surprised. But he wasn't in class I said. Out of curiosity, I decided to read his own first and it went like this;

  A street child. There's nothing beautiful about being a street child. All there is long suffering, pain, agony, bitterness and sorrow. I was once there. I was once a street child. No day passed without me having to fight for my daily bread, without me having to steal something and pray I don't get caught, without me smoking weed or getting high on cheap liquor just to be able to sleep and not think myself to death.
   I was once a street boy, I lived by the rules of the street, you either go hard or go to the grave, I was hard hearted. You had to join a gang to able to live free on the streets. We fought daily, blood was shed, lives of men were taken right in front of my eyes. It was Hell in all its glory.
    I was once a street child, sometimes it was good. You could be walking and see a thousand naira note on the floor and your day was made or some women selling food could call you in to eat the remaining food so it doesn't go to waste. Days like these were Christmas for me.
   I was once a street child, I never had it easy. I was lucky enough to attend primary school, giving me an upper hand among my pairs, even though we suffered the same. We lived in the midst of dirt where lice and bedbugs were closer to my body than my clothes. You could count my ribs. I was the definition of suffering.
  I was once a street child, no parent to cater for me. No parent to lead me on the right part. I was raped, beaten and molested and this made me a monster. I raped young girls too, I beat them up. I always had this rage in me and it was all because of the street.
  I once was a street child, but today, I will be no more. I was born in the street, and it's normal that I die in street. I'm 18 and this life has taken me deep. So as I drink this SNIPER and die, I pray that God sees that I have been through hell already and He takes my soul to keep.

What!!!! ... I shouted and started packing up. All that was on my mind was how I would quickly rush up to the principal house so she could take me to his house and I could stop him before he does anything stupid. I stormed out of my office. I was scared, bitter, sad, indifferent. As soon I stepped out, the words hit me; "He is dead, he took his own life" the principal said to me amidst tears. I sat on the floor and my mind wandered away ...

© Victor akhuemonkhan
For: Inkskribe bi-weekly competition

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