One of the things I couldn't help but notice during our time in South America are the children being raised on the streets. Of Arequipa, of Cuzco, in the markets, everywhere.
What I mean by that is, if the parent(s) are industrious and resourceful enough to have a little food cart of some kind, or are selling their handmade wares on the street or at the local market during the day, they are accompanied by their children.
I'm sure they have no other choice.
Or perhaps it does not occur to them that there might be another choice.
When you live in a country where there is such widespread poverty, I think your focus is on daily survival. For you and your babies. Period.
We saw it time after time; and it always touched my heart, time after time.
Sometimes they are older, such as this pre-teen in Guayaquil, Ecuador. She does not look happy about being photographed. I always apologize when this happens. Perhaps she is not happy with her situation. My intent is never to embarrass or make anyone self-conscious. I am simply fascinated by every single thing when we travel. Including this concept, which we would never see back home.
Or this growing young boy, in Quito, Ecuador, who is helping Mom at the Labor Day protests; maybe a smart thing to do, considering you could get fed yourself in the absence of paying customers. Young boys at this age are constantly hungry, right??
This is the only one I caught doing homework, though. Perhaps there are those few "over-achievers", even among street kids. Or perhaps we should say "Well done" to the parents of this child.
Many times, though, they are still babies. And this is their "normal" daily routine.
From everything I observed, they are well-loved, and their parents are doing their best to provide them with the most basic of daily needs.
We really have so much to be thankful for in the US, don't we?