Friday, June 29, 2007


“Ice cream, Ice cream” the old woman called out as young school children scrambled one after the other in a rush to buy one or two. I checked my time to be sure I was not imagining. “” I recoiled in shock. It was a cold Monday morning, the cloud still cloudy with a promise of rainfall.

The rate at which the secondary students struggled to buy this Ice cream this early morning was appalling. Right in front of the school gate, no teacher or security guard to chase the woman away or at least caution the children from the risk which they exposed themselves to.

If the Ice cream they so much were rushing after was the normal healthy Yogurt produced by recognized and approved company, then my concern would have been about the timing of the sales of the Ice Cream. But this Ice cream was a locally made one; even an illiterate would know that the contents/ingredients composed of water, color and sugar, sold cheaply at the rate of N10 per one.

Parents give their children pocket money to spend in school every morning, but little do they know what these kids spend the money on. I must confess that as a child I also suffered from the aftermath of buying “unhealthy” food in school which led to constant stomach ache and mild food poisoning. I would have acted differently if I knew better then.

Those who do not spend their money on purgative snacks, make countless visits to video game centers, or the hard ones among them even experiment on alcohol or weed with pressure from their peers who count it as part of growing up.

If I could change one thing about this, I would have parents become more interested in knowing what their kids spend their pocket money on or at least be interested in their leisure activities. Secondly, the school authorities can also help by monitoring the food vendors that come around the school. Thirdly, is there any way NAFDAC can set up local monitoring team to act as watch dogs on these locally made snacks?

A healthy Nation is a wealthy nation. This young generation certainly needs more enlightenment on eating healthy to keep healthy.

If I make my way through the public secondary school I saw these kids hustling for the Ice Cream tomorrow, I wonder if I would see any change, probably not I guess. It has always been there and it may always be there…

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