KENT KLICH   Street Children in Mexico City


Mexico City

My family is from Patzcuaro,Michoacan. We have a house there but it was difficult to make a living. My mother and I came first, I was just a child then. We slept in the railway station and in the mornings my mother would make tortillas by hand and sell them. Later on,when we found a place of our own, my father, who is a tailor, came with my brothers and sisters. As long as I can remember, my parents have fought hard to find jobs and to take care of us children. But with both of them away at work, we would roam around on our own. I soon became friends with the street children around the railway station and I guess from then on I was more on the streets than at home." Lourdes now lives with her three-week old daughter, Annaí, in a burned out night club. She left Gato, Annai's father, because he often beat her when he was on drugs or drunk.

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Nobody could say just when he stopped laughing, playing, fighting: just when it was that he gave up. He didn't work with the other children anymore. And slept alone outside the shed. He neither hugged nor fought with the dogs. He walked alone from house to house begging for food and clothes. One day he didn't come back.

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Cuyo and Gallina

After Cuyo accidently broke a bottle of paint-thinner, Gallina accused him of doing it on purpose and picked a fight. When it was over they shared a joint like good old friends. Gallina tells me that a person he used to work for transporting marijuana between Acapulco and Mexico City has come to see him. Once, he carried one and a half kilos hidden in two teddy bears. They paid him 500.000 old pesos and he says that he would do it again if he got the chance. The minimum wage at the time was 10.000 old pesos for eight hours work.

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Omar and Morro

They lived at the Casona on Sor Juana Inés street, not far away from the railway station. The Casona was an old school that had been abandoned after the earthquake. When the police sealed all the entrances with cement, the children used a rope over the wall to climb in and out. The climb was too hard for the smallest children, so the older ones dug a tunnel that everybody could use. There was water and electricity inside.

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Navaja and Ratoncito

Navaja is a leader. The smaller children like Ratoncito and Piojo can easily make a living by begging, and they turn over food and money to Navaja, who gives them protection and paint-thinner.