A blog from our client – Chiamaka

Post Date: Sep 1st, 2009 | Categories: Advocacy | COMMENT

This is our food collection for the next ten days. We don’t get vegetable except tomatoes because they give us old stuff locals won’t buy – but why complain? Better than being hungry. You know how many tomatoes 10 USD buy in my country? A whole van load – not what fits inside, but the size of a van wheels included! Our bananas and papaya are so huge you wouldn’t believe and really sweet and fragrant. We make a mashed banana dish with salt, sugar and spices which is the best! If we want fish we don’t have to pay a cent: we just go to the beach early morning, when fishermen dump what they don’t take to market, and pick the best fish to grill at home on a fire. There’s even fish a meter long lying there, because fishermen cut out the cheeks to sell and they don’t care about the rest.

The contrast with Hong Kong is huge: here we struggle with hand-outs because we can’t work and collect two bags of food three times a month. As we share them with friends, after a few days we are hungry and go to charities and churches for meals. I never thought I would go hungry before fleeing my country. I never even thought I would be homeless. Sleeping under the stars in Kowloon park was a shocking first experience for me – it felt like a bad dream. After running out of money, a friend lived almost a year sleeping under the Star Ferry between two columns, where he carved his name lest somebody take his place. A dormitory bed in Chung King Mansion is 70$ a night so how do you pay that? Strange things happen: my friend didn’t have 12 bucks for the slow ferry last night so he sleep hiding in an alley, afraid the police would arrest him because it’s illegal to sleep on the streets for non-Chinese.
Chiamaka 23, East Africa