I got the news about one week after I came back to Bolivia. He had been hit by a motorcycle. Just a few days ago, they told me. He had been driven to a hospital, but no one knew anything. Some of the street children actually told me that he had been killed, but it was just something they said. Luckily. He was in the hospital with a broken leg. That was all.
As soon as I received the news I arranged to go to the hospital with the social worker from Plataforma. We went without knowing anything about what was going to meet us. This was about one week after he was hit. We asked for Roberto, but there was no one there by that name, so we was instructed to go from room to room to see if he was there. So we did, and we found him in a room at the end of the hall.
Hermano! Hermana! He smiled when he saw us. It was his big friendly smile again. The smile that can make anyone happy, anyone, but after a few moments he started to cry. He cried and he cried. They hadn't done anything with his leg! He had already been in the hospital for a week, but they hadn't done anything. I was shocked. Just because he's a street child, they hadn't done anything. He was there with a broken leg all alone. But after just a few minutes the nurse came with a clean T-shirt and a big bag of candy, assuring us that he had been taken really good care of since he came. It made me angry. Really angry. I wanted to start shouting at the nurse, but I kept silent. Despite the situation they assured us that he was going to be operated tomorrow.
The next day I returned, but still they hadn't done anything. Again the doctor assured us that he was going to be operated the following day, and this time they kept their promise. At last.
A few days later we went with him to a home where he could stay. A place where I believed he would be taken good care of. A place where day would work with him, so he could have a future away from the street, but to my disappointment that was not how it turned out. He was happy there, at least for one week, but because of his behaviour he was returned to us. They couldn't manage having him there. He destroyed everything they said.
They came with him to my office late in the evening. We tried our best to motivate him to go to another home, but he refused. He refused because he believed things would turn out the same there. He just wanted to go back to the street. The channel underground. That's the only thing he knows. The only thing. The only known way of living to him. So that was what he wanted. Just to go back to the street.
So we was there with this boy in my office, with just one unacceptable option. Taking him back to the street. I was confused. We can't do it, I said. We can't just bring him back to the street! At that moment I would rather die than take him back to the street, but what could we do? There was no home that wanted to receive him, but one. And he didn't want to go there. He just wanted to go back to the street.
So, we had no choice than to take him back to the street. And that is what happened. When I went home that night and entered my room, I started crying.
The rest of this story is yet to be made. At this very moment he is on the street, and I haven't seen him yet. I have been looking for him several days. Searching and asking for him throughout the city, but he is not to be found.
I hope that this story can be the voice of this child. That you will hear him, and see him. A boy with the most amazing smile on earth. A boy with an unbelievable potential in his life. The only thing he needs is someone to recognize it. Someone to enter his world, and guide him to a life away from the street. Right now he has no one. Only himself which is the only thing he knows. Himself and his world. I still pray that one day, one day, this boy will be able to tell his own story, with his own words, to the whole world. And that when this day comes, we will sit down, stop doing whatever we are doing, and just listen.