In Kitale, Kenya, among countless other towns in the developing world, many street children have found an escape from their emotional and physical pains by becoming accidental consumers. Orphaned, barefoot, and malnourished, they habitually spend the scarce money they earn from odd jobs and charity not on food or water, but on a more immediate fix – glue – incidentally the same solvent-based kind that the wider world uses to cement shoes together. With plastic bottles perched at their mouths, the children breathe in the glue’s neurotoxic fumes until they pass out or fall asleep forever. Equally naturalistic and investigative, “Glue Boys” contemplates the future of the world’s estimated 150 million street children and documents the day-to-day plight of a handful in Kitale. It also unveils the distribution chain of their addiction to sniffing glue, from the small-time street dealers who facilitate it, to the authorities who enable it, to the massive multinational corporations that profit from it. Not overlooking the deeply entrenched reality of the developing world, the film presents the illicit adhesives market with a sense of urgency and intricacy, bringing awareness to a growing global giant but also providing a framework for change.
Directed and Edited by Phil Hamer