Mexico Trek!   Trekkers DISPATCH: August 24 Silvia's Log

What's it like to live on the streets? Meet David - he's been there.

Meet David*, a former child of the streets (* names have been changed) After I broke through the silence separating us, I was unexpectedly returned to silence, mesmerized by all that David willingly shared with me about his life as a street child:

He left home at the age of 8 because his father beat him, and spent 7 years on the streets. Now he’s 18. He knows all of the "coladores" (storm drains) in Mexico City. His life on the street has been hard. His saw his closest friend get shot in the head. He has seen overdosed children lying dead. He knows a girl that was severely abused by police. David had long, filthy hair, glue-stained T-shirts, and a bad attitude. He says the chemicals they sniff to forget their hunger, cold, and pain are called the Time Machine - an entire day can elapse but it feels like only 5 minutes. His only worry was about surviving from one day to the next. He had no plans for the future.

"The hardest part about being on the street is the loneliness, people walk on by as though one doesn’t exist, and fear you if you talk to them."
He thinks that most stereotype the street children as violent drug addicts, but he says they are rarely violent. On the other hand, he tells that "the beauty of being on the street is the freedom- no rules and no one to tell you what to do", but the price to pay for that is extreme.

Trivia!When Casa Alianza´s street educator was finally able to get through to him, he was stoned, but "the glue doesn’t take away one’s pride." He was challenged to a soccer game, and the shared love for the sport with the educator was what got him to decide to go to the Refugio Crisis Center.Now David’s living at the Hogar Aragon where I am. He’s preparing for high school and wants to be married and have a family while working a stable job. Already so much has been shared with me and still he promises that there’s so much more, after we have more trust and he’ll share in due time. I want to establish a trust between us during my stay here, which I already sense may be too short - there’s a world behind each of these faces, but David claims they want to break from the past and only look toward the future. David, I hope to know you more over the next few weeks.

-Silvia

PS - One of the former street children I am living with at Hogar Aragon wrote a letter for all of you...

"The street is no place for a child because in reality children have the right to not be abused by their parents and society within such a metropolitan and American city. We all have the right to live life as a member of a family, and if parents do not want their children because of their kind of relationship as a couple, then they should not have brought unwanted children into the world."

Sincerely, The Children of the Street

Related Dispatches: 
Silvia - Young and homeless? Unfortunately you're not alone
Silvia - Drainpipes and drugs - Hitting the streets with Casa Alianza
Silvia - What's it like to live on the streets? Meet David - he's been there

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