It was a Sunday, so there was little to do but mark time and sniff glue. The shops were shut, the market half empty. With few people out and about, begging was unlikely to be a profitable enterprise.
Instead, many of Eldoret’s street children had retreated to its central rubbish dump. Foetid and pestilential, this wasteland has long been a haven for the waifs of Kenya’s fifth city, the country’s highland capital and long-distance running heartland.
“California Barracks”, as it is known to the 700 homeless children and young adults who sleep there, usually provides something to eat: unwanted food dumped by local hotels or overripe fruit discarded by traders from the nearby market. It also offers a refuge, from society and from Eldoret’s police, who can rarely stomach the stench.