"There's still hope, there's still a light at the end of the tunnel"
The children abandonment is one major problem in urban life. Street children, another term for them, is one of the consequences of poverty in which many countries face and try to deal with. Many causes of this social phenomenon, some of them are parent divorce, abandoned children due to poverty, breakdown of homes and family and some children leave their home to avoid a ‘honor crimes’ or arranged married. They are often subject to sexual abuse, neglect, exploitation and drug abuse. The street children can be found in a large majority of the world’s cities. According to a report from UNICEF, it’s estimated 100 million children were growing up on urban streets around the word.
The hard livelihood of street children is well depicted in a novel written by a young Czech author, Hana Hindrakova. Nobody’s Children, the title of that 205-pages-book. This novel shows Nairobi, Kenya, as the central location of the story. It is the second novel that I read which show case Kenya with its unique culture and language after The White Masai of Corinne Hoffman.
Nobody’s Children is an epic story about the struggle of some abandoned children in Nairobi. Hana writes this novel in enchanting narrative. You wouldn’t be able to put down this book after you start reading it. She describes Nairobi and its environment really well and accurate as if I was there seeing all things happen in front of me. There is 60,000 street children estimated in Nairobi and 250,000 street children in all over Kenya (Wikipedia).
The novel is started with two different life of two kids from different classes, Joy from the rich family and Moraa who raised by a single mother who works as prostitute and lives in a slum in suburb Nairobi. In this novel we will see how love can connects two different people from different destiny to be best friend for life. Joy, who attended a prominent expensive school, met Moraa near the zoo when she joined the school excursion. Moraa spends her time in the street to beg to assist her mother and go along with some people from the gang in slum. Even though Jackline, Joy’s mother, forbids her children to go along with slum girls since they are smell, full of disease and they steal from people, Joy insist to stay close with that girl and curious about how she lives.
We can also find a magical realism in this novel as we regularly find in Latin America literature. In the mid-part of the novel, we will be told a story about a medicine woman who live in a mountain helping people to cure some disease and illness. One day that single woman was visited by a little girl. She just come to her life by her odd appearance. One night that girl, exhausted and thoroughly knocked on her hut's door. People believe that girl, who named Kioni with blue eyes, had come straight from the top of the mountain in order to help medicine woman to cure more people.
In this attractive novel we will meet several girls who struggle with their lives. Many of them come to Nairobi and join the gang of street children led by a man, named Odek. Some intrigues and jealousy happens between the street children. They are also competing each other to get someone’s love and attention. But in the end, they are always helping each other to reach their own goals to get a better life.
Reading this full of impressions and compelling novel is like reading a beautiful friendship and compassion between peoples from different backgrounds and classes. It’s a perfect book to read in order to get a glance of street children’s livelihood. It also raises awareness on what is happening in our world and many countries and leave a mark in our mind to be more aware of them. Probably they are nearby our houses.[.]
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