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Hidden depression

Gli Street Boys così chiamati dai locali di Nairobi, vengono spesso associati a ragazzi/e (le ragazze sono in numero minore rispetto ai ragazzi) che vanno dai 9 ai 20 anni che difficilmente hanno una fissa dimora, con difficile situazione famigliare e che spesso scappano da casa, dove per sopperire alle difficoltà ed alleggerire il più possibile il peso della pesante situazione fanno uso di sostanze stupefacenti, il più delle volte vendute dagli stessi locali. Loro, spesso allontanandosi dalle famiglie vivono e dormono per le strade, trovando per lo più riparo sotto i ponti, sotto i banchi dei venditori di strada e nei peggiori dei casi si rifugiano all’interno dei pozzetti di accesso alle fogne.
La loro giornata la passano principalmente raccogliendo materiali come plastica e metalli da portare in discarica ottenendo così qualche spicciolo (circa 20 scellini del Kenya/Kg per la plastica e circa 50 per i metalli) per mangiare e comprarsi la colla e/o “Msi”, ossia cherosene. Molte associazioni locali ed internazionali provvedono a fornirgli almeno un paio di pasti per ciascuno alla settimana, cosa che indirettamente permette ad alcuni di loro di rimanere per le strade e nei peggiori dei casi di sprofondare nella dipendenza dalle sostanze sniffate. Chi viene recuperato dalla strada e decide volontariamente di collaborare con un’organizzazione che da loro aiuto spesso ottiene buoni risultati, riuscendo a togliersi dalla strada e nei migliori dei casi a trovare un’occupazione.
Nella mia breve permanenza a Nairobi, ho avuto modo di conoscere alcuni membri di un’organizzazione locale che due volte alla settimana si reca su un punto d’incontro prestabilito per alcuni di questi ragazzi, un ampio campo da calcio nel quartiere di Githurai 45. I ragazzi che ho ritratto sono alcuni di loro, ma il progetto non è frutto di un lavoro di approfondimento e ricerca sulla questione, viste le poche occasioni avute per spalleggiare i volontari dell’organizzazione.
Piuttosto sono il risultato di una sessione fotografica fatta in poche ore, dove chiedevo prima il loro consenso e ponevo a loro alcune semplici domande, come ad esempio: nome, motivo per cui assumevano certe sostanze e l’effetto che queste causavano su di loro. Le foto mostrano alcune loro gestualità ed espressioni colte nel mentre parlavamo, ho dato la massima libertà a loro senza chiedere pose e impostazioni estetiche, chiedendo solo di non nascondere l’oggetto (nel caso lo avessero) dal quale sniffavano la colla o msi.
Il risultato non è di certo simile all’immaginario che ci si crea pensando a condizioni simili. E difatti non è così la maggior parte dei casi, ma sicuramente il supporto da parte dei volontari in quelle occasioni incide positivamente sul loro umore.

The Street Boys, so called by locals in Nairobi, are boys and girls (girls are very few in number compared to boys), often from the age of 9 to 20 years old who hardly have house where to live, as well as a bad family situation, circumstances that lead them to run away from home. In order to face and mitigate difficult life conditions and depression, they are used to taking synthetic drugs, usually “msi” (Airplane Kerosene) or shoe glue, often sold by local sellers. Those who run away from families live and sleep on the streets, seeking protection under bridges, elevated roads, under the benches of street sellers, or in the worst cases inside sewer manholes.
They usually spend their day collecting materials such as every sort of plastic or metal to bring them to dumps in exchange for a little amount of money (about 20 shillings/Kg for plastic, and 50 shillings/Kg for metal), so they can eat something and buy drugs.
Many local and international organizations provide help to many of them, giving each one at least two meals a week. This service, provided by such organizations, does not always have positive effects, because it indirectly encourages some of them to carry on their life on the streets and to sniff drugs. Nevertheless, many times those who are rescued by organizations and who accept to be helped get good results, such as giving up living on the streets and finding a job.
During my short stay in Nairobi, I met some members of one of these humanitarian organizations, that twice a week goes to a place where some of the Street Boys usually meet, a large football pitch in the middle of Githurai 45 district.
The guys that I portrayed are some of the Street Boys, but this work was not the result of a detailed study, nor of research about the issue, due to the few occasions I spent with them. It was, instead, a photo session made in few hours, in which I asked some questions, getting their previous approval: their names, the reasons for taking drugs and the effects that those drugs had on them.
The photos show their facial expressions and the gestures they gave while we were talking. I gave them the maximum freedom, without asking them particular poses, not even aesthetic ones. I just asked them not to hide the objects with which they used to take drugs (if they had any at that moment).
As it is clear from the pictures, the presence of someone spending some time with them can positively change their mood even for a short period of time. On the other hand, it is easy to see them depressed, totally lost while sitting on the side of the streets, collecting materials to sell or wandering the town without any destination.
Joseph - From Githurai, he usually sleeps in the middle of a roundabout, covered by an overhead road. He usually takes both Msi and shoe glue. He said: "with msi, I feel stronger and "hard", I can with it, don't feel pain"
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Joseph - From Githurai, he usually sleeps in the middle of a roundabout, covered by an overhead road. He usually takes both Msi and shoe glue. He said: "with msi, I feel stronger and "hard", I can with it, don't feel pain"
Isaac - He doesn't have a house and, he usually sniffs glue to reduce stress.
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Isaac - He doesn't have a house and, he usually sniffs glue to reduce stress.
Brian - He's not supported by family and he gets a lot of pressure from the bad situation of it, for this he sniffs glue to keep away stress and thoughts about family problems.
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Brian - He's not supported by family and he gets a lot of pressure from the bad situation of it, for this he sniffs glue to keep away stress and thoughts about family problems.
Before to give to the guys a meal, the organization (called G9) organized a football match with them.
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Before to give to the guys a meal, the organization (called G9) organized a football match with them.
Dennis
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Dennis
Jhon - He, as well as the others, sniffs glue to soothe the stress.
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Jhon - He, as well as the others, sniffs glue to soothe the stress.
Kevin - He has parents but is not supported by them, he takes drugs "to escape from problems"
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Kevin - He has parents but is not supported by them, he takes drugs "to escape from problems"
Isaac - He doesn't have a house and, he usually sniffs glue to reduce the stress.
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Isaac - He doesn't have a house and, he usually sniffs glue to reduce the stress.
Edwin - He is sniffing kerosene from a soaked cotton hankie
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Edwin - He is sniffing kerosene from a soaked cotton hankie
Joseph - From Githurai, he usually sleeps in the middle of a roundabout, covered by an overhead road. He usually takes both Msi and shoe glue. He said: "with msi, I feel stronger and "hard", I can with this, to not feel pain"
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Joseph - From Githurai, he usually sleeps in the middle of a roundabout, covered by an overhead road. He usually takes both Msi and shoe glue. He said: "with msi, I feel stronger and "hard", I can with this, to not feel pain"
Hidden depression
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Peter - He lives on the roundabout on the ground, he does not have parents. He sniffs glue to escape from problems.
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Peter - He lives on the roundabout on the ground, he does not have parents. He sniffs glue to escape from problems.
Bernard - He's used to sleeping on the roundabout on the ground. He usually sniffs Msi only, he said: "I get power from it"
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Bernard - He's used to sleeping on the roundabout on the ground. He usually sniffs Msi only, he said: "I get power from it"
Francis
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Francis
Titus - He's used to taking Msi, he usually takes it to escape from problems given by no support by the family, he said: "I sniff it and I feel good".
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Titus - He's used to taking Msi, he usually takes it to escape from problems given by no support by the family, he said: "I sniff it and I feel good".
Alan - He lives on the roundabout and he usually smokes marijuana and sniffs msi. He gets power from them and keeps every problem away.
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Alan - He lives on the roundabout and he usually smokes marijuana and sniffs msi. He gets power from them and keeps every problem away.
Before to give to the guys a meal, the organization(called G9)organized a football match with them.
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Before to give to the guys a meal, the organization(called G9)organized a football match with them.
Francis
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Francis
Dennis - He sleeps on the sustain column of the overhead road that pass over the roundabout. To climb the column he uses a rope.
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Dennis - He sleeps on the sustain column of the overhead road that pass over the roundabout. To climb the column he uses a rope.
Hidden depression
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