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  #1  
Old 11-19-2007, 07:25 PM
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Friday, July 30, 1999 Published at 17:25 GMT 18:25 UK


World: Africa

Children high on sewage



By Ishbel Matheson in Lusaka

At the Lusaka sewage ponds, two teenage boys plunge their hands into the dark brown sludge, gathering up fistfuls and stuffing it into small plastic bottles. They tap the bottles on the ground, taking care to leave enough room for methane to form at the top. A sour smell rises in the hot sun, but the boys seem oblivious to the stench and the foul nature of their task.


[ image: ]
They are manufacturing "Jenkem", a disgusting, noxious mixture made from fermented sewage. It is cheap, potent and very popular among the thousands of street-children in Lusaka. When they cannot afford glue or are too scared to steal petrol, these youngsters turn to Jenkem as a way of getting high.

"It lasts about an hour", says one user, 16-year-old Luke Mpande, who prefers Jenkem to other substances.

"With glue, I just hear voices in my head. But with Jenkem, I see visions. I see my mother who is dead and I forget about the problems in my life."

Symptom of poverty

Sniffing sewage is a symptom of the desperate plight of Zambia's street-children. There are thought to be some 75,000 in the country as a whole - a number that has doubled in the past eight years.


[ image: ]
With the Aids epidemic affecting an estimated one in four adults in urban areas, and the government's harsh privatisation policies throwing thousands out of work, it is the children who have suffered the most.

Sikwanda Makono is an education specialist at the Ministry of Health. "Now that the economy is going down, we see more and more of our younger boys going into the streets.

"And girls too. If you drive around at night, you see very young girls looking for men, to merely get something to survive."

Abandoned


[ image: ]
The children can also no longer rely on the extended family, once the backbone of African life. This traditional safety net is now on the verge of collapse.

Children are sent out onto the streets to earn a living, or treated cruelly by relatives already struggling to support their own families, or simply abandoned by parents, who cannot afford to feed and clothe them.

Victor Chinyama of the United Nations Children's Fund in Lusaka says it is imperative that the Zambian government gets to grips with this problem.

"So far, one doesn't get the feeling that this has been recognised as priority, or as a problem that needs to be nipped in the bud," he says.

"This problem is on the rise and the sooner it is dealt with, the better."

Temporary respite

Substance-abuse offers a temporary respite in an otherwise harsh world.

Nobody knows exactly where the idea for making Jenkem came from, but it has been used by street-children in Lusaka for at least two years. Nason Banda of the Drug Enforcement Agency is not proud when he says that it is unique to Zambia. He shudders when he sees the boys at the sewage ponds, scavenging for faecal matter to make Jenkem.

"It's unimaginable" he says. "It hits right at the heart to see a human being coming down a level, to be able to dip his hand into a sewage pond, picking out the material and not caring about anything but the feeling of getting high."

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Old 11-19-2007, 08:53 PM
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I believe I experienced this in a public restroom once.
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Old 11-19-2007, 09:00 PM
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tappity, tap, tap
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Old 11-19-2007, 10:09 PM
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Thank doG I ate dinner before I read this, fully expecting to read something about "controlled substances", duuuuuuuuude.
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Old 11-20-2007, 01:26 PM
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I'll never complain about anything in MY life again! THAT is grim.
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Old 11-20-2007, 01:41 PM
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Old news............didn't guurka already post this...........?
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Old 11-20-2007, 01:48 PM
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It's the first time I've seen it. I remember something about a guy in India who crawled around in the sewers for a living. Either way, it's pretty gruesome.
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Old 11-20-2007, 01:49 PM
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Yes, but not with the same degree of verve and elan.
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Old 11-20-2007, 10:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dee8go View Post
It's the first time I've seen it. I remember something about a guy in India who crawled around in the sewers for a living. Either way, it's pretty gruesome.
.......that's Gurka, alright........... Thanks for the set-up, and punchline.....
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Old 11-20-2007, 10:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skid Row Joe View Post
.......that's Gurka, alright........... Thanks for the set-up, and punchline.....

How is life in trailer? Done your sis or mom lately. Have any three headed babies to show? Lets see some pics.......
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Old 11-20-2007, 10:43 PM
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Tough crowd.
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  #12  
Old 11-20-2007, 11:07 PM
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http://blogs.usatoday.com/ondeadline/2007/03/sewer_worker_su.html

Local officials plan to change their policies to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future.

Working in the sewers can be downright dangerous. In 1999, researchers reported on the risk of contracting Hepatitis C.

One reason for the risk could be that drains are often used to dispose of biological waste products.

Sewage work is a filthy job period across the globe and not just India. When we take our morning crap, we should be thanking all of them instead of making it a matter of joke. Imagine when your toilet clogs and your sewer system chokes and you have your turds crawling up your behind, be thankful that someone down below in labyrinths of hell is doing their smelly, filthy thankless dirty job.

Of course, all this doesn't really apply to trailer park dwellers, all they have to do is find the nearest shrub or bushes as you can see one of SKid Row Joe's folks in action
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Last edited by Gurkha; 11-20-2007 at 11:26 PM.
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Old 11-20-2007, 11:29 PM
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See what happens when you don't have sewages...........
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Old 11-21-2007, 12:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Gurkha View Post
See what happens when you don't have sewages...........
What, you turn your sacred river into a sacred toilet.
http://www.smithsonianmag.com/people-places/ganges-200711.html
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Old 11-21-2007, 12:48 AM
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What, you turn your sacred river into a sacred toilet.
http://www.smithsonianmag.com/people-places/ganges-200711.html
Not that I give a rat's ass about what they do in India but water pollution is a sad facet all over the globe.




http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1594/is_3_12/ai_74628708

On paper at least, the days when an uncontrolled manufacturing sector could treat America's rivers like open sewers are over. In the early 1960s, reports Alice Outwater in her book Water, the Calumet River, which empties into Lake Michigan, was "receiving a daily dose of about 100,000 pounds of oil, 35,000 pounds of ammonia, 3,500 pounds of phenols, and 3,000 pounds of cyanide from the dense industrial complex around Chicago, Gary and Hammond." Small wonder that, in that era, rivers routinely caught fire.

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Last edited by Gurkha; 11-21-2007 at 01:01 AM.
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