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Thursday, 8 August 2013

Street Children

Today I saw a baby girl no more than one year old crawling in the street. I knew she was a baby girl because she was completely naked, her hands and knees covered in black soot. That’s how she’ll start her life on earth. I can’t stand seeing that and I can’t stand thinking about how vulnerable she’ll be to abuse of all kinds as she grows older and tries to make it on the streets. That’s a beautiful, innocent baby and they’ll have her down there crawling around in the trash, where men take a piss. In the dusty, polluted street with muddy puddles that make your feet itch. That’s the future she has ahead of her and I can’t even wrap my brain around the idea because there are so many of these kids living on the streets and it seems that they have no more value than stray dogs.

This happened to me shortly after I received a card from a relative back home celebrating the birth of a new baby boy. This baby is so lucky. He has a family who adores him. He has probably received plenty of new clothes and nice toys. He has a warm crib to sleep in, a mother and father who work hard to put food on the table. Upon hearing about this new birth in my family I felt a strong maternal instinct, wondering if and when I would ever have children and how I would want to celebrate my child’s arrival into this world. Yet it’s evident that there are already so many children who need help, so isn't it with that little girl that my duty should lie?

In our everyday life it’s so easy for us to separate ourselves from that level of poverty. We can rationalize the whole experience as being a problem too big for us to handle, too widespread for our actions to make a difference, but that’s just not good enough. No child deserves to grow up on the street. That’s a human being, that’s somebody’s baby. 

1 comment:

  1. Amelia, as soon as I read the first sentence, my heart broke. This is such a shame that these children have to be born into such poverty without a choice. I know that we see street children everyday and at times become jaded. In my area the local municipal social welfare officer is supposed to go out and report these cases and have them placed in agencies like the one I work with. This situation is so horrid and it makes me wonder if we should stop the efforts of fighting trafficking and abuse and focus more on poverty, and homelessness which leads to the conditions that you have described. Keep your head up. It's not easy reading this so I know its not easy walking by this (because you can WALK passed them and go on with life, this is their life-they can not walk away) on a daily basis. Thank you for sharing.