"Young people do not want to toil on the land."
I am Jamaluddin Guillaume, a shopkeeper at Le Hochet, Terre-Rouge, 5 kilometers north of the Mauritian capital, Port-Louis. Life is very difficult for poor people in my area. People beg for food at my place everyday. I'm not lying, God hears me. I feel I should help them – even if I can't make ends meet myself. Poverty is on the increase because of unemployment. In many families, there is not a single breadwinner. We should at least find a job for one of the members of each family so that they can care for the others.
In some families, poverty is so rampant that women have no choice other than to get involved in prostitution. They can't be blamed for that because they have to feed their kids. It's very sad. Women in my area work as prostitutes and I'm not afraid to say it. Many men who work part-time jobs end their day in taverns, and gamble the rest of their money away. They come back home late at night empty-handed and out of pocket. The problem is getting worse.
People always ask why poor people don't get a job in agriculture. But many of them, particularly the youth, simply ignore this possibility. They do not want to toil on the land. I do some gardening and this helps in the kitchen. We should train Mauritian youth in agriculture and farming. The situation is really upside-down.
Author: Nasseem Ackbarally / hw
Editor: Anke Rasper