It's up to you

(Illustration photo)

Svenn shares a story from his work in Bolivia:
I was walking down the street talking to my friends. It was late and we were on our way back home. When I walk in the street my eyes are now automatically looking for street children, and as we were walking I suddenly saw a kid laying on a bench. I looked at him closely and I thought to myself; Do I know this kid? I continued walking since I was thinking about other things than work, but I couldn’t stop thinking about who is this kid. Marius and I decided to leave our friends for a second and go back in order to talk with this kid. Just to find out who he was.

We sat us down on the bench, quiet without saying anything. I looked at the boy, but he wouldn’t look back at me. He was about 11 years old. I could tell that I had seen this boy before, but I couldn’t remember where. I then asked,

- Hey, boy, do you know Alalay?
The kid looked at me with a firm smile on his face without saying anything at all. He was dirty after working the whole day as a shoe shiner, and he was about to go to sleep. I could tell that I really knew this boy. Without a doubt. After a few moments of silence the kid looked at me saying,
- Yes, I know Alalay, and I know you as well.

I continued,
- How long have you been in the street?.
- About a week, he told me.
- And why did you leave Alalay?
- Because I want to earn some money...
- Money? I repeated.

He just looked at me, smiling. I continued asking him about what he thought about returning to Alalay. He said:
- Returning? Well...I don’t know.
- You don’t know? I said.
- No, I don’t know. It’s just that I like to earn some money. I don’t like being in the street, but returning...well...I don’t know.

I then used about five minutes explaining him what his options are. How his future can be, but that it is all up to him. I finished telling him that we can go right now, and that he could sleep in a warm bed already this night.
- What do you think? I said.
- I don’t know, he answered. Really, I don’t know.

Read more: Thoughts from Bolivia

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