Children high on sewage
This article by Ishbel Matheson from the BBC News website (dated Friday, July 30, 1999) explains the history of jenkem.
The article begins:
At the Lusaka sewage ponds, two teenage boys plunge their hands into the dark brown sludge, gathering up fistfuls and stuffing it into small plastic bottles. They tap the bottles on the ground, taking care to leave enough room for methane to form at the top. A sour smell rises in the hot sun, but the boys seem oblivious to the stench and the foul nature of their task.Again, here is the link to the full text.
They are manufacturing "Jenkem", a disgusting, noxious mixture made from fermented sewage. It is cheap, potent and very popular among the thousands of street-children in Lusaka. When they cannot afford glue or are too scared to steal petrol, these youngsters turn to Jenkem as a way of getting high.
"It lasts about an hour", says one user, 16-year-old Luke Mpande, who prefers Jenkem to other substances.
"With glue, I just hear voices in my head. But with Jenkem, I see visions. I see my mother who is dead and I forget about the problems in my life."
Substance abuse among Zambia's street children
The Mail & Guardian online reports, in this article by Zarina Geloo dated 29 December 2004, on the recent history of substance abuse among Zambia's street children.