Sunday, January 10, 2010
A New Year Brings A New Child
On the day when we went to buy beans for the month I saw a small boy in a large trash heap carrying trash in his hands. I see tons of street kids every time I go out but this child struck my heart in a different way. It was so sad that I could not leave him there - the conditions of that place were as if it were for pigs. The boy was removing the most disgusting trash with his hands - no gloves, shoes or boots to protect him from the diseases he could get.
I called the boy over and asked him a few questions. He said his name is Riquito, his father died when he was little and he lives with his mother and stepfather. I went back to the orphanage and returned with my camera and two older boys (Jeremias and Lazaro) - just so they could follow up the story with me. We asked Riquito more questions and why he was carrying trash around and he said he was looking for money and food to not be hungry. We asked him to take us to his home and when we arrived at his house we found horrible conditions.
When we got to Riquito’s house - as soon as his mom saw him - she immediately started taking out all her frustrations on him. The mom told us that she has two more kids, one who is from the man living with her now who works as a night guard, receiving about $19 a month. She also has a 13-year-old daughter who she could not take care of so she gave the girl away to a lady to work in her house and watch her kids. She said that Riquito had run away because the stepfather was trying to find a family for him to work for as well. She said that Riquito should be working as a servant by now.
The mom also told an unbelievable story about how Riquito got the scars covering his torso. When he was a baby she once left him alone, lying on the dirt ground outside. A little while later some neighbors heard strange noises and went over to see what was going on. They found a wild pig trying to eat the baby, having already bitten him in the side and where his ribs are many times. The neighbors rushed over and saved his life but he still has all the scars left today.
I told Riquito’s mom about the orphanage and asked if she would be interested in letting her son go there instead of being a servant to another family. I asked Riquito if he would like to live in a place with other kids and eat three meals a day. He smiled so big but his mom said no. She thought this must be a trick and that he would instead be sold to people with evil intentions.
I began imagining what life would be like for Riquito if he became a servant in someone else’s house or continued his days in the trash pile. I imagined what his life would be like if he came to the orphanage, got three meals a day, learned to read and write in school, went to church to sing praises and learn about God – and what could be better than that?
I asked the mom if she had any male relatives and if she could call them (this is the appropriate thing to do in our culture). She said that she has a brother who is a carpenter and we went and found him. We told him about the orphanage but the mom told him that she was scared that we were tricking her and would sell Riquito to bad people. So we brought all of them to the orphanage and they saw everything that goes on here – how the kids are living and playing, what they are eating, and where they sleep. The mom could not believe that all the kids were orphans and that many had once been in a situation similar to her child. After seeing the orphanage she decided to let her son come here.
So now we have this new child. I wish I could tell you Riquito’s exact age but no one knows. I am guessing he could be 12. Riquito is no longer spending his days in the trash heap looking for money and food to take back to his family. He seems like he’s adjusting to the orphanage well and he seems very happy. He has never been registered so we are trying to work with his uncle to get him documents so that he will be able to start school. We arranged to do this with the uncle last week but he has still not shown up. We are praying that the uncle will come soon so that Riquito will be eligible to begin school this year. Otherwise he will have to wait another whole year before beginning because the new school calendar begins this month.
Please pray for Riquito, our newest child in the orphanage, and please pray for his family as well.
Labels: Kids' Stories