Day 73: About a boy. A shoe shining boy.

Christian came over and asked if I wanted my shoes shined when it started to drizzle. The rain got heavier and we sought cover together.

“Where are you from?”
“China.”

“China? That’s far away. Are the people in China rich?”

“Not really. Like Peru, there are some rich people living in the capital and many poor people living in villages.”

“Peru is poor. I’m very poor, I have no father, just my mother, so I must work…”

“…” I was lost for words. Christian looked no more than 8 years old.

“Let me polish your shoes, I have a coating to protect them from the rain” he pointed to his wooden shoe shining kit.

“I’m really sorry I don’t have any money…” I had left everything at the hostel, a usual practice in case I get mugged.

“… Is it your first time in Cusco? Do you like it?”

“Yeah I love it, it’s a beautiful town. Do you live here?”

“Around here.. My village is about 2 hours away by bus.”

“and you come here everyday to work?”

“Yes.. ”

My heart sank.. It’s a harsh reality that many kids are denied a proper childhood. Christian is one of them.

“what do you want to be when you … ?” I struggled for the Spanish word for “grow up” but Christian understood my hand gestures.

“when I’m older? Mmm… a tour guide”

Not your typical 8 yr old answer. Christian wanted to be a guide because he knew it pays to be one.

“Do you like McDonald’s?” he asked me.

“not really.. Do you?”

He knodded. “I love their fries.” His eyes told me it was all he wanted for Christmas.

Christian was like any other kid afterall, but it was obvious even this simple desire goes unfulfilled. I was heartbroken. How many kids out there aren’t given a happy childhood?

Too many.

How many of us out there don’t appreciate how lucky we are to have had a childhood filled with books, crayons, cartoons and McDonald’s?

Too many.

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3 Comments

  1. Ray says:

    Thanks for posting this. Hopefully we all take this as a reminder of how important it is, to appreciate what we have, and to always lend a hand to whoever that is in needs.

  2. 霏 her says:

    Ray, I can´t agree more! Too bad we went back to the square twice in hopes of finding Christian and buying him McD fries but to no avail. I hope he has a happy simple life..

  3. TenTenLa says:

    speechless.. thanks for writing this out.

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