The boy who broke my heart

Alalay (Archive photo: Aggie i Bolivia)

Ragnhild has been out with Alalay's street team, looking for street children in Santa Cruz. She relates her experiences on her blog:
The sun was shining hot over Santa Cruz as we were walking by the side of the rode. It was just a normal day for the street team, walking next to the big highway talking to the street children. For me and Anna it was different, from working in the village too talk to the children that actually live on the street, this was a new and raw experience. At first we stopped and talked to the older boys who were washing cars, and then we played card games with the youngest girls. One of theme told me she used to live in the Alalay-village, but that she had moved back to the city, witch meant the streets.

After one hour or so we went to drink something cold, the street-team told us that we would walk to another place near the airport, so we started walking. By the side of the rode into a gate lay a body with pink painting all over. It looked like “it” was dead, but we still poked the body in the side. It came awake and “it” was a boy of 14 years called Alfredo. With his box with glue up to his nose and pink paint all over his clothes and skin, he smiled at us: “Ustdes son Hermanos?” yes we replayed, we come from Alalay. Alfredo smiled and lifted the glue to his nose and took a deep sniff.

It was all starting to seem unrealistic to me, how can a 14 year old boy live on the street, SNIFFING GLUE!!! Me and Anna started talking too him, asking if he was hungry and wanted to come with us to Alalay. Alfredo just smiled, sniffed, and answered ”I want to shower and yes I’m hungry!”

The street-team discussed it and they agreed that we should take him with us. However first we needed to go to the airport. After 10 min walking in burning sun, Alfredo started to get tired so we quickly decided that I and Anna should take him to the 1.stage.

But before we could take Alfredo anywhere he had to put away the glue. It took 5min with intense sniffing and a lot of co-axing from us before he was ready to go.
We had to take the bus and people watch in horror as we, two white chicks, sat down with a street-boy. It made me so annoyed watching them watching us as if Alfredo was a dangerous diesis!

When we finally came to the 1.stage Alfredo got to shower of all the pink painting and after that he could eat with the other boys. He looked so happy and all the boys seemed to like him. Me and Anna spent 1 or 2 hours there visiting the boys from 4.stage that 5days earlier moved from the Alalay-village. And of course the other volunteers who works in the 1.stage. When we decided to leave we couldn’t find Alfredo so we went to the gate. All the boys Were staring out on the street,” he left, he left”. I couldn’t believe it! He left, back to the street. It just broke my heart to know that that night he would be out on the street again sniffing glue.

It really made me think about the injustice children suffer as a consequent of decisions made by adults, politicians and international companies. I mean who decides that one child is more worth than another? Who decides who should have an education? And who decides not to change this? The world has enough reassures for everybody, and it’s not fair that because of what a few people decide should affect children all over the world. What did they ever do to deserve it?

Les mer: Aggie i Bolivia

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