Motivation Today - Tunde Alabi-Hundeyin II blog

Monday, October 3, 2011

Turn the tables

Clutched in one hand, each parent hands over his boy to an Almajiri malami at a tender age of 4 or 5 for tutoring in Islamic education. This practice, which has existed for decades in northern Nigeria, has bred more destitutes than scholars. The hungry, helpless and hopeless boys comb the streets in groups, scouting for a meal; however indecent, even in garbage- as you see in the picture below, which I shot on the streets of Kano.

    Kano Almajiris scouting for a meal inside street garbage.
During the day, the Almajiri boys dot the landscape, roaming for just one reason: survival. They clutch their only item of trade- a bowl; walk up to you by the street corner, beg alms, food or whatever you can offer. They taste a daily dose of hunger, abuse and deprivation. At night, while we snore in the comfort of our homes, many sleep in the cold or heat of the open, which they share with ubiquitous flies and stray animals! They are not deviant as their parents would have made the Almajiri malami tutor to believe. These masters even sometimes share in their daily booty- as I was informed by Sadiq, my tour guide.

Almajiri boys combing the streets for survival.

"Can I get your help?"

"Which way to go?"

He noted quite frankly that some of them however, strive through thick and thin to start some petty business in their teens and by dint of hardwork, discipline and commitment, become wealthy businessmen trading in FMCG, Fast Moving Consumer Goods.

Life lesson: never end your life where it started. You may start by being a security man, a cleaner or a jobless/under-employed graduate but ensure that you add a new skill or knowledge to re-invent your destiny. Pay the price to move from ground zero to the top. Rome was not built in a day but day by day and week by week. It was not even built sitting down and crying over spilled milk. Tables turn only for people who make the effort to put more pressure on life. Do not die a celebrated potential; push your limits and evolve into the star you really are! Be responsible for your destiny.

The boys receive no education, no shelter and no care.

From Maiduguri to Kano, Sokoto to Dutse, Gusau to Yola…the parents of the Almajiris fling them so far from home, never to set their eyes on them again. How far do you go to abdicate your responsibility? This Almajirinchi phenomenon that broke my heart in Kano may just be like a stray bullet that wrecks havoc anonymously or another time bomb waiting to explode over many generations unborn if we fail to show love and get the stray kids out of the streets. The problem we watch and do nothing about will later haunt us and what we do not address will undress us. Love is the only way we will be free!

"Where is hope?" The boy standing on Dutse Dala (Dala Hill) overlooking Old Kano seems to ask.

Photo credit: Tunde Alabi-Hundeyin II/Fish Eye Photography


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