Saturday, June 21, 2008

Week 2 (Rachel)

Miguel and Alberto.

Our new amigos from the campamento.

Eleven and thirteen respectively, mischievous would not even begin to describe these two. It is hard to say how we became so connected with these boys as so few words were spoken between us. I love how much a smile can communicate unspoken sentiment. Lucy, for instance, speaks just a few phrases of Spanish, yet these kids adored her! They are worried when five minutes have passed and Lucy has yet to make an appearance—“¿Y Lucy?”—I have to console them that she is just refilling her water bottle.
A neighborhood mother described Miguel and crew as “niƱos de la calle”—children of the street. We met them as they were jumping off rooftops and putting each other in chokeholds. But as we get to know them throughout the week of camp, we realize we have never met more precious human beings. They want so desperately for us to join them in a game of futbol, and above all, they want to please us. They show us their drawings and beg for us—the big kids—to be on their kickball team. As the days pass, we realize how close we have come to the kids. But when Saturday comes, we will leave, and they have to stay here. The thought will not leave my mind—why don’t they have the opportunities I have? How come they live in a house with three families and no running water? How come Miguel’s mother has to work until late in the night and no one can watch him, discipline him, love him? What will become of him as he roams these violent streets for the rest of his life? And how is he so happy? There is a piercing cry of injustice that echoes throughout Nogales. It leaves you nothing short of disturbed.

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