Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Sifting through garbage for something to eat

Wow! Another sad story from Zimbabwe.

A story in IRIN today depicts people who have so sift through garbage in find something to eat. Some of these people do have jobs, but their paychecks have been made worthless due to the 231 percent inflation rate.

Others have to resort to being dishonest to sell the food to other people. One example in the story is disguising leather as meat and selling it to drunks.

Our snippet of the story depicts the life of Saidi Arufandika, who forages the garbage for food for her grandchildren.

IRIN November 5th

The implicit health hazards of rotting food and fish are a secondary concern to Saidi Arufandika, 60, who regularly cycles 34km from the dormitory town of Chitungwiza to the capital, Harare, to sift through the garbage at Mbare Musika market, where the traders discard heaps of tomatoes, cabbages, carrots and potatoes as unsuitable for sale.

"I have joined many other people in scrounging for food at this dumping site, because that is my only way of ensuring that my grandchildren have food," Arufandika told IRIN. "For my age, cycling almost 70km a day is very taxing, but that is the only way of beating the hunger that we are facing."

At home he picks through the best of his harvest to feed his bed-ridden son and three grandchildren left in his care after his two daughters left home to become sex workers.

The excess food is dried in the sun to disguise its rotten state and sold in the neighbourhood, where he finds a ready market, as few people can afford to buy fresh vegetables.

"I have been coming to Mbare since February this year. I made the decision after my grandchildren went for two days surviving on water alone," said Arufandika, whose monthly pension has been made worthless by the country's official inflation rate of 231 million percent.

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