Sarah, Hopefully

Monday, September 06, 2004

Nuevos Amigos

I know it´s strange, but I´m writing two posts in one day. Get over it.

Today I made new friends. I went down to my service agency to work, but the people I work for in the office weren´t there... so instead I hung out with the kids who stay at Heidi y Pedro. Charra, the other girl from IPSL, was there, too. It was difficult to communicate the difference between the names "Sarah" and "Charra" to people. Pronounced the "spanish way", they sound pretty similar. Charra just has an H in it.

First I played basketball with Charra and a guy named Miguel. Keep in mind that I wore a skirt today (silly me) and sandals. We didn´t play real basketball... basically we just played "take turns shooting from this spot until someone makes more than 20 points." I won the first time, despite Charra protesting that I shoot the ball funny. Excuse me for never playing sports in my LIFE outside of gym class! It was really funny that I beat her when I apparantly shoot all wrong. Ha on you, prissy Charra! The second game was just Miguel and me. He beat me, but barely. We were tied at 20 points and he made the shot. It was good for his ego, though. ;)

I made a new friend today. Her name is Claudia. She´s 14- her birthday is really soon, though- and lives at Heidi y Pedro with her 8 year old brother. It made me really happy when she told me, "Me caes bien," which basically translates to, "I like you. I think you´re cool." She, Charra, and I had a conversation about what it`s like to live there or to be a kid on the street. All of the adults in Claudia´s life have died or gone away... she has a lot of other brothers and sisters, but she hardly has any contact with them. It was so heartbreaking to hear her say how much she wants a new family that loves her, but she knows that she doesn´t really have a chance because she is too old. She really wants a new family for her brother, who is still young enough to need a mother and a chance to be a kid. But, she told us, being at Heidi y Pedro makes her really happy.

I think about the US and am amazed at the contrast. Yeah, there are people living in poverty in the US, but how many kids actually live on the streets? With no one trying to help them? There are millions of kids without parents, without money, without homes, and without help here. Millions! There aren´t the same government programs for keeping kids in schools and foster homes here. Kids can live in filth and people just look the other way.

This really impacted me today. We Americans are so damn fortunate, and we don´t even care. We have so many freedoms... we whine about the corruption of our government, but the government here RUNS on corruption. If the system weren´t corrupt, it would collapse. Police officers are paid minimum wage because they are expected to earn their REAL money accepting bribes from people. No wonder no one trusts or looks up to the police here! President Vicente Fox is the first Mexican president to NOT be from the PRI (political party) in over a hundred years. Can you imagine? A three party political system that doesn´t really count for anything because each president can just appoint his successor- after all, the other parties never win.

I changed the title of my diary for a time... I think I spend more time recounting my adventures here than reflecting on things. This post being an exception, of course.

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