Elisa: I can't blame him who bought sex. Or him who raped me. Or her who sent me to prison. No, all the blame is on my father.
Elisa: Sorrow... joy...
Elisa: I want to become a superstar. Like Zidane, Ronaldhino, Ronaldo... A great player, international... I am very happy.
When I go for my medicine the hospital is packed with people. My God, they all have AIDS... Then I realise I'm one of them.
I asked the doctor twice if he is sure. He says, yes you have it.
But if you live like this you can still have a long life.
Title: HYENA SQUARE
Omari: The Hyena Square is in Dar Es Salaam.
In Manzese, drop at Darajani bus stop. Take the road to Tandale Market. Follow the road where they sell fish. You will find a large square.
Elisa: I have lived here for seven years. It's a dangerous place, scary and sad.
I want the government to demolish Hyena Square.
(montage, people on square)
Motherhouse: This environment is rotten.
Brothels, no decency, sex everywhere. Girls sell themselves for 300 Shillings (0.3 USD).
Dogolin: I come from Dodoma Region.
At the bus stop I heard about Hyena Square.
Where our little sisters sell themselves. I came to check it out and got bewitched. I got stuck here... so many girls, very young and pretty.
Justa Mwaituka: That place is like a gateway for children with problems.
They get involved in dangerous things. Like taking drugs. Having sex with very many men.
Justa Mwaituka: I put up a container that could work as a centre. Where girls who are tired of that environment can rest. And talk with a girl who has own experience from that kind of life.
Elisa: Mama Justa put me here for a reason. I would be an example.
I had been one of them, but I managed to change.
Elisa: Now I save other children.
They are very young... 15,14 years
Mwanaidi: Elisa used to be a girl hooker. These are girls who've had problems with their parents. That's why they come to do such bad things. Their environment is unbearable.
Elisa: I stay close to the girl. I tell her my story. We laugh and talk. What I say will touch her and she will ask, what can I do?
Anonymous girl: A woman took me as a house girl. I was harrassed and ran away. I got a friend who brought me here. She introduced me to this...
Anonymous girl: She said, you wear a mini skirt or pants, put on nice make-up... Stand here and wait for men. They pick you up, sleep with you and pay. This is the only way to survive in the city.
Elisa: We can help. But first we must get a letter from the authorities.Then you go straight to the Kiwohede centre. Kiwohede helps girls in trouble. You can stay there for a while. You learn many things there. Sewing, making earrings... If you want you can play football.
Omari: These bars sell all kinds of drink. In the evenings different kinds of people come here. Some come to drink, some to smoke pot, some for the girls. Some just want to see what Hyena Square is like.
(street robbery scene)
Omari: By year 2000 people had had enough. Customers who came here got robbed... We called a meeting with citizens and leaders. We decided to form a youth vigilante group. They collect money from business people.
Omari: The tough part was that we knew many of the trouble makers. Some were our own children or brothers.
Toli: It's true. Some of us were gangsters.
VIGILANTE GROUP MEMBER
One may join us after having been in prison. Life is bad there, people learn...
(street scene with boy and video deck)
Boy (being led, grabbed by the arm): Let me go.
Man: I'll break your leg...
Fat lady: Let him go...
Thin lady: Is that deck ok? Is it stolen from that woman?
Fat lady: No, just leave it...
Toli: Myself, I decided to do good. I was done with the bad...
(boys patroling, beating up marijuana smokers)
Elisa: The problems began when my mother was pregnant with me.My father threw her out. Every time I tried to see my father he dodged me. The last time I saw him he said,
from today you are not my child. My real father said so when I was nine years old.
Elisa: When I was fourteen I met a woman who said she'd take me to the city. You get a job and you will go to school... a good life.
Elisa: I was happy to see the city. I thought I would return with money.
Elisa: She handed me over to another woman and got 10,000 Shillings (10 USD). She said, you wake up at five, sweep the floor, cook, do the dishes...
Elisa: Three years later... I was alone with her husband. He dragged me into the room.
He tore all my clothes off. He raped me.
Elisa: I went to the police. They wanted 2,000 Shillings to take a report. I didn't have money... I asked the woman for just the bus fare home...
Elisa: I saw the door open. First came the woman and then two policemen. She said, that's her. "Show us the money!" But I haven't stolen it... they beat me.
Elisa: I had no idea what a prison was. I spent three months inside. When I got out I thought... where can I go?
Elisa: One day I came to a place with lots of bars. God helped me that day and I found 200 Shillings. I bought potatoes for 100 and went to see a video.
Elisa: I stayed by the bars from morning to evening. Then a girl came by. Her name was Sikitu.
Sikitu: She was so young. I was already living over there. She was just a child so I called on her.
Elisa: She said, if you stay here you'll get raped, let's go home. We went to a guesthouse on "cunt street".
Elisa: We slept out here for some time. She'd go to work and buy food that we ate together.
Sikitu: I didn't want her to sell her body.
Elisa: At times she had no money. The men saw I was still a child and asked her to let them have me. I had to move to a guesthouse.
Elisa: I stayed in this room.
Guesthouse manager: Elisa had no luggage. Just a plastic bag. She had no money...
GUESST HOUSE MANAGER
...but we knew she would find out how to make money.
Elisa: When I see this room I remember... I want to cry because it's as if I return to that slavery. Seeing it makes me feel bitter...
Guesthouse manager: New girls are good for the business. They get used to the old ones, the new ones are fresh. Before... we had more customers. Many girls have died. As they get fewer the business declines...
Elisa: This is the first picture. I was new in Hyena Square, 1997. This is my friend. She told me: my father has given me HIV. She killed herself with tablets.
Elisa: The one in bed got pregnant. She tried an abortion. She used Neem tree leaves but got too much. We took her to the hospital. The next morning she was dead.
Elisa: We were friends who cared for each other. Many died, many left. I am the only one left, almost...
Elisa: I have known Hadija for a long time. She is a drug addict.
Hadija: At first I smoked it mixed with marijuana.
Hadija: Until I didn't get high anymore. So I started sniffing it. But I got used to that too. After a while it wasn't enough. So I started with syringes. Until today I shoot it...
Sikitu: Take a "Sports" cigarette. Squeeze the white stuff out of the bag. Chop it up and mix it in. Then you light up and smoke...and wow! It's like you are in Europe.
Hadija: If I didn't do drugs I could have started some business. But what stops me is the addiction. So I sell myself, get money, buy drugs. That's it.
Elisa: In this job you have to drink. Because alcohol gives you strength to talk back. Self-defense. We lived like animals.
Elisa: I found a guy who tought me kickboxing. I was tough. If someone cheated me I took care of it myself. It helped, they came to fear me.
Chuma: My girlfriend works as a prostitute. If I want trousers I get them...
...a nice shirt, jacket, shoes, money for food. Whatever I want.
Chuma: If I ask her to quit I will suffer myself. I know that men sleep with her without condom. The money keeps me happy so I can't ask her what she is doing...
Chuma: But she gets infected with diseases and passes them on to me. And here at Hyena Square we men have two or three women. I don't say "my wife" but "our wife".
She has slept with this friend, and that...
Sikitu: If you go to prison nobody helps you. Maybe that guy. He is like your boyfriend. You give him sex for free. You give him money for food, pay his rent... it's terrible.
Sikitu: But he may think, "she helped me, let me go get her out of jail" He gets money and comes for you.
Elisa: When they opened that container, I didn't understand.
I had to get drunk first. I got some booze to get into the mood for talking to them.
Sifa: She was drunk and hard to talk to. She wasn't dressed properly.
Elisa: I went to stay with Kiwohede. After one day I ran away. I was arrested by the police. I was beaten up really badly.
Elisa: In jail I remembered Kiwohede. If only I had stayed there...
As soon as I was released I went straight to Kiwohede. I told Mama Justa that I had changed and asked her to help me.
Sifa: Besides wanting to get out of there she wanted to do a health test.
Elisa: I told Jamila I wanted to get tested. She said, tomorrow you'll get the result. She said, Elisa you look great. I was laughing...
Elisa: If you found out you were infected with HIV, what would you do? I said, whatever it is I will survive. I may change my habits. I laughed. Then she told me, your result is a bad one.
Elisa: I suddenly changed. I stared at her. I saw pictures from my past run by, fast. Childhood, how my father rejected me, how I sold myself...
Elisa: Lots of things went through my head. I realised it started with my father. He was behind all my problems. If he had let me go to school, taken care of me... I had to laugh.
Sifa: You must stay close to her, and tell her that all people aren't bad. We are here to help you.
Elisa: She said, you must learn to forgive.
Elisa: I cried... I laughed...
Elisa: I had heard that people with AIDS die within six months.The doctor told me to take care of myself. Youth who do sports don't get into trouble. They don't take drugs.
Elisa: They spend a lot of time training. After the training you don't want anything like that. You had planned to see your boyfriend, but afterwards you don't want him.
Elisa: Many of my friends have died. How come that I who have the virus am still alive? The secret is that I know I have it. I won't die today. I'm infected but not ill.I live and work like any person. I don't think I'll die of AIDS. No. I am well.
Elisa: I came out because I wanted to educate you. But you talk bad about me.
She has AIDS, don't go near her. She is as good as dead. The coffin walks by...
Mishi: Our team had a difficult start. Sometimes we had only nine players.
We get hurt, but we love our team so we go on playing. Other teams try to buy me over. I take their money but I don't go. Because we've come a long way, from the fourth to the second divison. I can't leave it. This is where I belong.
Mishi: Elisa is a good back. But sometimes she gets confused. The other day she shot an own goal.
Elisa: I should have straightened my leg but I didn't. It went in, bad luck.
Woman: How did the goalkeeper feel?
Elisa: She was bitter... being attacked by your mate like that...
Elisa: AIDS is a problem. But it gets worse if people don't get tested. If you get tested and follow the advice of the counsellor you stop AIDS where you are. You neither get it nor spread it. But if we continue to hide, AIDS will remain a big problem. We will continue to infect each other in the dark. And many more will die. Because we hide.
Elisa: I haven't had much joy in my life. For me happiness is not "being alive"... but to meet my father. To live a good life. And have a job that helps me become one of those people who are recognised in this world... for their stories.
(montage: Hadia leaving the square)
Elisa: Hadija got help to go to Lutindi Mental Hospital for treatment.
Doctor: What was your occupation?
Elisa: If I was in charge I would gather all at Hyena Square and give them loans. Then I would tear the whole square down. If I had power. If I saw them there again - arrested. But I don't have power. That place remains. People keep going there. Children will go there. Wives will leave their husbands to go there.
Hadija: In twenty years we move up here?