When the times are tough it is always the children who suffer. Such is the plight of Zimbabwe ‘s children fleeing to other countries for some kind of future. Prince Jelom is one of those children.
He has sold eggs, carried bags and other menial work to survive. He is 13.
The young boy knows where to grab a few hours shut in in a bus shelter, how to work harder than many adult men and can bluff his way across the border.
When he’s not having to be a street wise kid though he thinks of home. Back at home is a loving grandmother that he left behind.
He now lives in a church shelter in the border town of Musina. There he dreams of becoming a pilot, a job his father also wanted. He may not have the education yet, but he still has his hopes and dreams.
He is like many of the other 100 or so boys seeking refuge in the shelter. Big dreams, little plans. They want to find their families. They want to escape poverty. They want to be free.
Both of Jelom’s parents are now dead. AIDS made him an orphan, war made him a refugee. He hopes to remain in South Africa. He’s one of more than one million Zimbabweans with that dream.
He is just the beginning. Inflation in Zimbabwe is in the trillions. Most of the population is in need of food. Cholera is at an epidemic stage.
But young Jelom has his dreams. Perhaps in time he will be flying a plane. But that time is a long ways away.