Life on the streets

In an earlier post, Svenn told us about how a child might end up living on the street. Now, he shares more about how life on the streets is actually like:
The life of the street child is hard. And then I mean really hard, but still most of the children living in the street prefer to stay there. They prefer to have the freedom it contains. The feeling of being able to choose what to do by themselves without anyone telling them what to do. For them it is a life without authorities and abusive parents.

I have so far met three children living in the street who have told me that they used to live in Alalay, but they left the project in favor of the street. In the street they have what they need to escape from a life which is brutal and unfair. I am not saying that the street is not brutal, but rather that there, they have the drugs to forget all the brutality.


I want you to think that you now have lived a few months in the street. You were sometimes at home “visiting” in the beginning, but this stopped quit quickly. You were now living constantly in the street. The only family you in reality have is the other street children and you have found yourself a street family.

A street family is basically a group of street children living together. In these groups you can almost always find some older street children. Maybe 20-25 years old, and among these there is sometimes a girl who act as the mother of the family. The older boys are the leaders and protectors of the family. All these older boys and girls are street children who never left the street when they were young. They are basically examples for the younger street children, but extremely bad examples. Here you can find the distribution of drugs and glue. The family is also a source of knowledge about robbing, begging and different types of work.

You wake up around midday. You feel an extreme pain in your body. Almost unbearable. The pain you are feeling is the result of yesterdays robbing who went really bad. You got caught by the police and they were hitting you for a long time all over your body. Yesterday you didn’t feel anything because you were drugged, but now you could feel everything. Quickly you find your little cup of glue and start sniffing. This ease the pain and lets the thoughts fly away from this world ones again.

You look around you. You are in your home. A little tunnel under the road. This is a part of the bigger channels which got the function of leading all the rainwater out of the city and into the river. Here you can stay hidden without any police bothering you. This is your bedroom and “drug room”, and it is called “abajo” which means down under.

Les mer: Thoughts from Bolivia

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