Tattered clothes, unkempt hair, the undeniable stench emanating from being a few metres away and the usual vitality are but a few traits of the demented or otherwise known as the “mad people” who ply daily on our busy roads.
Some years ago, people would avoid getting any closer to them as they were viewed as being possessed by evil spirits, children would cry anytime one of them was spotted and run for their lives. On a typical day, you find them muttering incoherent words to themselves, and are prone to extreme bouts of emotions. Their tattered clothes sometimes expose their private parts to the full glare of the public, children and adults alike.
While some may find this display funny at worst, it poses a grave danger not only to these demented fellows but also individuals, as they can get physically abusive and end up incurring the wrath of residents in that area. These mad men and women easily become objects of ridicule and are sometimes picked on by passersby.
You find them hiding in uncompleted buildings or sheds and eating left over or rotten foods on the streets and rubbish bins. It is sometimes surprising to note that, these “mad” people become lucid, having a flash of clarity just before they switch to their present state. My encounter with them over the years has been quite disheartening, you either find them washing their clothes in water drains, gutters and sometimes drinking water from these same places.
For some of us, who are quite particular about personal hygiene, we wonder how these people survive under such harsh conditions. I am yet to hear a mad man dying on the streets. Shockingly enough, you find them living longer lives than normal individuals.
Although some people may attribute their present condition to the use of hard drugs, other psychological factors could have accounted for it. A couple of them can be seen on the Labadi- Labone roads to Circle. Due to their illusive nature, they are exposed to all sorts of danger on our roads including being knocked down by a speeding car.
In Labadi, as early as 9 am, you find at least three of them either sleeping, walking around or trying to direct traffic.
The question then is, if relatives of such unfortunate people have shunned them, what has the government done to clear them off our streets? *add the law part*
While some may mention the availability of psychiatric homes to cater for them, what measures have been put in place to ensure that they don’t escape and continue this entire cycle all over again?
The question is, what has the Ministry of Health, done to alleviate this particular menace?