STREET CHILDREN OF KINSHASA

One of the saddest consequences of the reduced life expectancy of people in countries like Congo is that parental deaths lead to increasing numbers of orphaned children.  Young adults die for diseases such as AIDs, a disease that ultimately kills both parents.  War deaths and many other diseases inflamed by poor nutrition and poverty rob others of length of life.  There are purported to be over 15,000 orphans in the city of Kinshasa alone.

Orphanages have been constructed by the government and various non-governmental agencies to try to help the children left without parents.  As in many poor nations, orphanages can be a blessing and a curse.  Some of them, reported in the international news, are so poorly run that children would be better off living on the street.  Corruption and lack of resources strike them often leaving little food for the starving children who have taken refuge within their walls.  Not all orphanages are harmful.  Many serve the needs of children throughout the nation, but the problem is not easily contained.

Children often are left to fend for themselves on the streets of the city.  They scrounge what food they can, competing with older children or banding together in gangs to share in their spoils.  Children, such as these, are taken by rebels, in some countries, to become soldiers wielding automatic weapons.  Young as they are, an automatic rifle kills regardless of who pulls the trigger.  Other children are merely lost in the milieu of humanity, their lives cut short, unable to make it from day to day.  Such a life is unimaginable in this country.  Here a child rarely goes a day without a meal, even in the poorest areas.  There are homeless children and adults, but we do not have the staggering numbers that are seen in nations such as Congo.

Solutions are hard to come by.  As long as AIDs rages and poverty reigns it is unlikely that the situation will change drastically.  As these nations, like Congo try to grow and advance, they must face this growing problem.  These children, generations of them, are growing up on a lawless edge of society.  They have developed amazing survival skills and, no doubt, sew seeds of discontent with the nation.  Perpetuation of violence and rebellion is likely to be the result, unless these nations look inwardly to find ways to improve the lot of their people.

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About smcpherson58

Aside from loving chocolate and coffee (not necessarily in that order) Scott McPherson has learned that he loves to write. He writes fiction and, so far, has published two novels. Scott has many varied interests, though he tries to focus on one at a time. He has worked for nearly thirty-five years as a family physician, a pass-time that gives him great pleasure and pays the bills. He has five daughters and dotes upon three grandchildren. Recently married, he really loves life. Scott writes from his life experiences and from travel. His career in the active Air Force was brief, but he has been a member of the Nebraska Air National Guard since just before 9/11 in 2001. The aftermath of that great disaster changed the face of the Guard and led to missions in far-away lands. He has spent time in Turkey, Iraq, Spain, Crete and Guam in missions related to support for Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. He has been to Iceland and Antarctica as well. Scott has no personal experience with violent death or murder, but has gained knowledge from experts. In his first novel, “A Step Ahead of Death,” his character, Jack Sharp MD, becomes embroiled in a murder mystery. First as suspect, then as amateur sleuth, Jack tries to make a difference. He finds himself right in the middle of an investigation well beyond the scope of a local murder. A man of faith, Scott traveled to Africa with his small family in the 1980s and served as a medical missionary in Zaire (known as Congo today) with a church organization. The vast difference in what it takes to exist in such an environment served as a basis for much of his second novel, a thriller, “Congo Mission.” His character, Jack, is twenty years younger than in the first novel. In “Congo Mission” Jack serves as a physician in a missionary hospital in the jungles of northwestern Zaire. There he is not only captivated by a young woman visiting the region, but falls victim to his nemesis Jacques Levant. His motivations and faith are tested and his resolve to do God’s work gets pushed to the limit. When he is not writing Scott enjoys walking, a practice that actually led to his first attempt at writing a novel. He began making notes and writing prose about the mundane things around him. He tried to make the details sound interesting, even though it was just for his own pleasure. Eventually he found that he could expand his prose to “what if?” “What if I just kept walking?” “What if I, or my character, found a dead body in the ditch along the side of the path?” That was the premise for the first novel, “A Step Ahead of Death.” Scott McPherson is an avid trombone player and has played since he was nine years old. He marched in the Cornhusker Marching Band at the University of Nebraska and now takes advantage of one free football game a year by playing in the half-time show with the UNL Alumni Marching Band. He plays in the Lincoln Civic Orchestra and a community band from the nearby town of Waverly, Nebraska. Scott loves to sing as well, though his range seems to have diminished in recent years. He has sung in college and church choirs and remembers performing parts of Handel’s Messiah as a highlight of his singing experience. One little-known fact about Scott is that he once sang soprano in a boys choir. Scott plans to keep writing as long as the ideas flow and others show interest in his stories. He loves to interact with other writers or readers about what has become a passion in his life. Reviews are always welcome as are questions and comments.
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