Things are so different here. Sometimes the disparity slaps me in the face.
Today we were in a community for a meeting (a meeting that never happened due to miss-communications – but that is another VERY long story).
On the way out to the community, the truck started to make some very worrisome noises. But we continued on – just at a slower pace. We knew of some folks along the way who have a ‘fleet’ of trucks and we hoped they would be home (a dad and 3 capable sons) so they could take a look and let us know if we were in danger – or if we just needed to get something tweaked. We figured they MUST have some knowledge of vehicles since they drive constantly.
They weren’t home. They were uptown at their school’s graduation party. Darn.
So we continued on to the 'meeting that wasn’t’ – and then made our way back up the hill afterwards – that is when we ran into (not literally) one of the sons and his dad. They squatted, peered under, poked around a bit and figured out what was up with the truck. Not sure if I can really describe it properly – but the truck bed’s connections were grating. They are 12 years old – carry LOTS of weight on a regular basis on some very rough roads. No wonder they were complaining.
So our friend Raúl hopped onto the truck and we headed back to their house where he said he could give it a temporary fix.
Here is where I saw something that made me really sad. Sad isn’t quite the right word though.
Blanca, Otilia, Cecilia and I were hanging out while Raul fixed the truck (for which he would take no compensation). We were chit-chatting about the meeting that wasn’t. Across the street – just at the end of Raúl’s ‘driveway’ was a man passed out on the side of the road. Drunk. We were told this was a common thing.
Ok. I’ve seen LOTS of men passed out on the sides of the road. Sometimes dangerously close to the middle of the road. (Not often thankfully).
But this time – there was another person. A little boy. He was sitting about 2 feet from the man. Waiting. Watching over him. The man was older so I have no idea if he was the dad, or the grandpa or the uncle. But the little boy – maybe 3 years old – was sitting there patiently. While we were there, he took off his shoes and socks… played with whatever was close at hand… or just sat.
I’m thinking – what can we do?? Nothing really. I was a ‘mandatory reporter’ when I was working in the WDM schools … but here. Who would I report this to? There are no social service organizations that protect children.
Cecilia had a small packet of cookies in her purse and a lollypop. She walked over and gave the little boy the goodies. He was very shy … didn’t want to take them – so she ultimately just put them on the boulder next to him.
We were at Raúl’s house for about 20 minutes. During this time a few people walked by – barely noting them.
When it was time for us to leave, Raúl assured us that he would keep an eye on the little one.
I trust Raúl. But it didn’t make me feel much better.
This is that little boy’s life. That was obvious in the way he just sat there. Waiting.