I have so far met three children living in the street who have told me that they used to live in Alalay, but they left the project in favor of the street. In the street they have what they need to escape from a life which is brutal and unfair. I am not saying that the street is not brutal, but rather that there, they have the drugs to forget all the brutality.
I have earlier told you about how street children are becoming street children. I will now try to give you a little wider perspective and give you a little peak into their daily lives.
I want you to think that you now have lived a few months in the street. You were sometimes at home “visiting” in the beginning, but this stopped quit quickly. You were now living constantly in the street. The only family you in reality have is the other street children and you have found yourself a street family.
A street family is basically a group of street children living together. In these groups you can almost always find some older street children. Maybe 20-25 years old, and among these there is sometimes a girl who act as the mother of the family. The older boys are the leaders and protectors of the family. All these older boys and girls are street children who never left the street when they were young. They are basically examples for the younger street children, but extremely bad examples. Here you can find the distribution of drugs and glue. The family is also a source of knowledge about robbing, begging and different types of work.
You wake up around midday. You feel an extreme pain in your body. Almost unbearable. The pain you are feeling is the result of yesterdays robbing who went really bad. You got caught by the police and they were hitting you for a long time all over your body. Yesterday you didn’t feel anything because you were drugged, but now you could feel everything. Quickly you find your little cup of glue and start sniffing. This ease the pain and lets the thoughts fly away from this world ones again.
You look around you. You are in your home. A little tunnel under the road. This is a part of the bigger channels which got the function of leading all the rainwater out of the city and into the river. Here you can stay hidden without any police bothering you. This is your bedroom and “drug room”, and it is called “abajo” which means down under.
Your living room is the city, but for the most part the surrounding area of your channel. Here you find food, beg, rob and hang out with your friends. In your case this is a park and a huge marked nearby. Perfect for everything you might need. This area got a lot of street children too which means that there are a lot of friends around.
You get out of the channel to find yourself some food. Today you do not have any money because the police took all you had yesterday. You beg without much luck. You have to rob some food. It is quite easy because you are a professional.
You hang around half drugged until around five in the evening. Then you gather with your family “abajo” Here you plan todays robbing and you drug yourself a lot to make sure that you do not feel anything in case you are to be caught.
At the same time the police is starting to arrive at the scene. They are there just to find the street children, nothing else. They are there because they know that this is the time that the street children is going out to rob, and this is the best time to catch them. In the eyes of the police the street children is more or less animals. Someone just want to kill them. Yeah, and that happens sometimes.
You leave the channels with a partner. You are both quit small. Perfect for robbing and hiding. You walk around the marked robbing until around eight o’clock. Then you go to sleep after a long day. You take some drugs which makes you able to forget everything and sleepy. You crawl down under a few cardboards “abajo” and go to sleep.