There is a specific child I have had the honor of getting to know. It is a boy about 13 years old, without any family or friends. Even in the street. He has been alone all his life. No one has ever loved him, at least not in a positive way. They call him “the dirty face” in the street. I am going to tell about him from my perspective and this is the first part of the story:
I first got to know him about one year ago. He was dirty, really dirty. He was painting a picture, a picture of a boy with a lot of colors. I remember I stood behind him several minutes just watching him paint. It was amazing to see a street kid paint a picture like that. It just made me really happy. The picture sent a message that became so strong when this kid painted it. The boy he painted was smiling. He was happy. He was in a world of fantasy. I was totally amazed.
I remember I sat down beside him after a few minutes of observation. I told him that I really liked his picture. That it was amazingly beautiful. He looked up at me for the first time and smiled, a really big friendly smile. That moment has burned itself into my mind. I continued asking him who Roberto was. He had written this name under the boy he had painted, in a lot of colors as well. He answered that it was his name. He had painted himself. Happy, and colorful.
The second time I saw him was in a park. He was totally drugged, and in a different world. All he said was that another street child had a wound. He left without saying anything more. A few days later I saw him again. Running through the park. He was beaten up. He didn’t notice that I was there.
In the same park, after several months without seeing him, he came over to me again. I was working with a wound of one of the older kids. He came over and when I looked up he smiled. It was his big friendly smile. He had a wound in his head. I told him to wait a second until I finished, but he ran away before I had the time to take a look at it.
After that I saw him now and then in different areas of the city. He never made any good contact with the other street kids. He moved from place to place, without any other point or meaning but finding food in order to survive. Sometimes he recognized me, sometimes not, depending on how drugged he was.
I know that deep inside him, the kid he painted is hiding like a prisoner of all the drugs and the street. There is hiding a happy boy with an amazing future there, a potential that is just waiting to get out. I hope that one day, one day, he will be able to tell his story to the world. That he may get his voice back, so all of us can hear him. And see the amazing boy he is!
To be continued.