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Children growing up in urban slums today face many challenges. Using illustrations from NoViolet Bulawayo's "Hitting Budapest", write an essay to illustrate the truth of this statement.

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  1. (Food)The first challenge is lack of sufficient and quality food. The narrator tells us that she and her friends have to steal guavas to survive. She indicates that they have eaten up all the guavas from Chipo's uncle's tree, and now they have moved to strangers' guava trees in Budapest, a high cost urban residential area. She reveals that she would die for guavas or anything because "her stomach feels like somebody just took a shovel and dug everything out.” This is an indication of severe hunger. In further details, she says that they have never seen anyone throw away food - this is a comment on Mello who throws away what is left from the thing she is eating. Sadly, the narrator says, "the woman's twisted mouth finishes chewing. I swallow with her." (P.100). When the narrator and her friends arrive home, she says that they will drink water for the night, "listen to the mother of Bones tell us a story and go to sleep." (P.104). 97,98 100, 101, 102, 103,104
  2. (Clothing)Children in slums do not have proper clothing. In most cases, their clothes are torn and they are partially naked. For instance, the narrator describes how Basta hit one of the younger children who is naked to stop him from following the group to Budapest. "Godknows' pair of shorts are torn at the back and his pitch-black back peeping like strange eyes through the dirty white fabric." Even Basta's black tracksuit is dirty because he never takes it off. His orange shirt is also faded. 97 to 102 103
  3. (Squalor)The children described in the story live in squalid conditions. The sanitation described is pathetic. The narrator affirms this by contrasting Paradise slum with Budapest. She says that Budapest is strangely quiet with no burning of things, no smell of something rotting. The air is plain and clean. When she sees the feet of Mello, the white woman, she is surprised at how clean and pretty they are. She adds, "I don't remember my own feet ever looking like that, maybe when I was born." (P.100). She also indicates that if she were living in Budapest she would "wash her whole body every day and comb her hair nicely to show she was a real person living in a real place." 98, 101, 102
  4. (School)Lack of schooling is a common phenomenon in Paradise. The narrator indicates that children do not go to school in Paradise slum. Even though Chipo says that her teacher, Mr. Gono said they need education to make money, this is not practicable since they are not going to school. The narrator says that she would go to live in America with her aunt. In this case, education may not be her priority. 97, 103, 104-5
  5. Unwanted pregnancies are common experiences in slum dwellings. For example, Chipo, who is only 10 years old, is expectant. It is claimed that her grandfather is responsible for her situation. The grandfather is later arrested and detained, but Chipo must just bear the burden of carrying the pregnancy for nine months. From the details in the story, Chipo seems resigned to her fate. When asked by Basta when she would have her baby, she resignedly answers, “I'll have it one day." (P.97). 88, 97
  6. Poor parenting contributes to the challenges in urban slums. The narrator says that getting out of Paradise is not so hard since their mothers are busy with hair and talk. She says, "They just glance at us when we file past and then look away." (P.97). They do not care about the whereabouts of their children, what they cat and do. Similarly, fathers are busy the whole day playing draughts under jacaranda tree. The narrator says, "their eyes never lift from draughts" (P.100). She adds that nobody smiles at them in Paradise.
  7. There is a lot of violence in slums as depicted in the story. The narrator points out that Basta who is the oldest among them, 11 years is known for beating them up. Basta enjoys bullying everybody. For instance, when Sbho tells his friends that he will one day own a particular big blue house in Budapest, Basta, the bully, throws a ripe guava at Sbho's dream house. The guava explodes on the wall and stains it. He throws another guava but it misses the wall but hits the gate. Basta thrives in bullying and violence. (14)

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