Is Hawking A Form Of Abuse?
I can hear you judge me already in your hearts. Like is this even a question?
Please don't crucify me yet. let me talk finish.
So I brought up this topic amongst a number of my friends (and maybe enemies) and I got amazing reactions and I had to write about them. Someone nearly beat me up for even daring to ask that question, most people blatantly said a yes. some people tried to be diplomatic and said not always. some other people said it depends. well.... we are all individuals so we are allowed to have opinions abi?
I knew most people would go with Yes its child abuse so I decided to stick with a No and I was armed with reasons and I also needed to make the conversation interesting.
You see sometimes I like to look for trouble and see things from unconventional perspectives to hear some opinions or just for the sake of looking through another's eyes.
(Disclaimer: no child in this world no matter his/her background/age/sex deserves to be abused in any way which includes and is not limited to hawking. I don't support endangering children/humans in any form).
now, that's out of the way...
A while ago, during my NYSC, I was gisting with an older person and the conversation kinda entered this topic and after I threw all the insults at irresponsible parents and unfortunate children, you should have seen the look of shock on my face when he told me he started life by hawking after school to get money for the next days breakfast. (Don't worry this Oga is pushing a sweet ride now and is gainfully self-employed). I was like whaaaaaaaaaaaaat?
There was no time to learn a trade because he had to go to school and he had to figure out a way to survive, a fast means of income. He also told me about some of his friends (fellow children hawkers) like the one who left the village for greener pastures in lagos, sent to learn how to learn a trade only to fall into the hands of wayo-wayo. going back to the village was not an option. He Picked some pockets to get some capital and he had to find a way to replicate that.
I taught in a proper government school during my NYSC and the school authorities started punishing or sending home those who hawked before coming to school as a way to send a message to their parents. These students were always coming to school tired and sleeping off during classes. I decided to speak to some of them to see if we could find a way out. The general feedback was that some of these parents don't even care what their children do. they just give birth and as soon as the child has small sense, its OYO o.
It wasn't a big deal to some of them, they had to survive and who has a better idea than going to where the customers are? (One of these student wanted to be an Okada man sef, so what better way to practice his trade...)
If I should continue the stories I heard we would not leave here today o. Finally sha. the corpers and I had to find a way to make sure these students come to school. ( these were the good ones. the bad ones had resorted to stealing and vandalism).
This was one end of the spectrum.
So I decided to ask some of my Ikoyi and Ikeja friends and that was when I nearly saw jungle justice happen to me.
"Yeva how dare you even mention it, its not even an option, everybody always has a choice".
Someone else told me that he doesn't believe my stories, that things are not as hard as that in this country. people (emi ni yen o) just like to exaggerate.
I also got, "there are no homeless children in this country, I've been to remand homes and the government puts all of them there." OK o.
this is another end of the spectrum.
Another opinion I got was it had to be mutual. parents forcing their children to hawk is abuse, a child choosing to hawk as a way to help out in the family because he sees the situation at home is .............
I honestly got different opinions and heard different stories like.
My mum once witnessed an accident on Benin-Ore road where a trailer lost control on the other side of the road and took everyone it could with it into the bush. (this actually happened)
ill like to know your opinions. now remember, hawking can be anywhere it doesn't have to be on the express road or in Lagos traffic. Some children hawk from door to door or from street to street or within the market. I'm also not referring to infants and 6 year old kids. my humble research was done on kids between Jss2 and SS2. (Secondary schools).
I need you to broaden you mind and just tell me what you think.
Do people always have a choice? what would you do if tables were turned?
Thanks for reading.
(hope you missed me, )