KENT KLICH   Street Children in Mexico City


Toño and Cagasangres

This morning, I came by to look for the children at the abandoned taco stand,in front of the south bus terminal. It was about ten o'clock, already sunny and hot. On other days, when I had come earlier they had all been asleep. The children had been staying here for some time, but there was no sign of them today. No dogs, not so much as a blanket laying around. Chato, the cabdriver on the corner, told me that the bus terminal police had come early in the morning, shouting: "We don't want you kids around. Leave!" I found them in the park across from the bus terminal.

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Monito was a very close friend of Shaggi, who had AIDS. When Shaggi became too sick to live on the streets, Monito brought him to the Ruben Leñero Hospital. Monito regularly collected money from the kids in the gang to buy bottled water, toilet-paper and medicine for Shaggi. When Monito arrived tired and hungry, Shaggi always welcomed him with leftovers he had saved in the course of the day.

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Downtown Mexico City

At 7:19 am on September 19th, one of the worst earthquakes in the history of Mexico City claimed between fifteen and twenty thousand lives. No one will ever know the exact number. Roberto recalls: "I was sleeping on a pedestrian bridge near the Guerrero market when everything started shaking. I woke up and shouted to the others 'let's get out of here, let's get down from the bridge!' An apartment building had collapsed on the corner of Heroes and Degollado.There was dust all over the place and it smelled of gas. People were screaming for help. We all did what we could, helping here and there. After the earthquake, if we were hungry, people would always have some odd jobs for us."
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" The first time I stayed away from my fathers house I just rode around in the subway, hungry and freezing cold. There was no work around and no one wanted to give me anything to eat. I begged for food but people screamed at me and called me a rat. I'll never do it again. I have lived many places; the subway, a traveling carnival and a movie theather called Continental. I cleaned up after the show and they let me sleep there. I really liked working in the theather because I could see lots of movies for free, like Rambo, Cobra and Bruce Lee. You see them chase each other in cars and fight and shoot and you learn how to protect yourself. Yes, sometimes I'm afraid. Often I have seen gangs attack people on the street and rip them off for everything. Here in Tasqueña I'm never afraid. There are gangs here but I know all of them and they are my friends."

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Gordo carrying Muletas

Gordo and Muletas were sitting on the sidewalk sharing their tacos with two dogs. Muletas could walk with the help of one crutch, but without he could only crawl. They were good friends. Gordo would always defend Muletas when he got into trouble and even carry him around when necessary. As they ate they talked about how to find a new pair of crutches. Muletas' had been stolen the night before while he slept.