Inside the dark world of sniffing fuel
My guide leads the steep climb in the sweltering afternoon heat. Three earlier attempts have been futile and this time, I have been advised to try and blend in.
A man wearing a red baseball cap, a T-shirt that was once white and now brownish and a pair of torn pants, staggers about. He turns unto a verandah and falls. “That is the worst case of the guys you are looking for,” my guide mutters.
We are in Muzana Zone, Kisenyi 1 Parish, one of Uganda’s drug havens where underground selling and trafficking of jet/aviation fuel, glue, marijuana, heroin, cocaine and other such substances, thrives.
I discover that the staggering man is George William Kizito. The building whose verandah he is leaning on one of the remaining few condemned structures that will soon give way to developments that are quickly engulfing what was once a major slum. Kizito seems epileptic and speaks inaudibly. He shakes feverishly. Uncontrolled saliva pops out of his mouth.
On the opposite side of the road, on the stairs of an arcade, about 20 boys, the youngest about 10 years old or younger, lounge. Each has a sack and either a bottle or a rolled piece of cloth held to their mouth. All are sniffing on something, interrupted occasionally when one has to speak.
Kizito is a legend. No one can point to a time when he arrived in the area. He walks like a zombie, only that he doesn’t have much energy. The community awaits his death.
Last year, efforts were made to find his family and when that failed, he was brought back to the streets to live his last days. His wish, residents say, is to be buried in a public cemetery.