KENT KLICH   Street Children in Mexico City


Cuyo, General and Canela
in the market, Tasqueña

The General had had polio as a child and made a living by shining shoes. "I could live with my family if I wanted to but I like the free life on the streets." When he got kicked out of the bus terminal area where he used to work, he had to go begging. A police car picked him up early every morning and drove him to Comercial Mexicana on the corner of Miguel Angel de Quevedo street. In the afternoon, they would drive him back again.

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The Day of the Dead.
Chu-chu at the altar for Shaggi who died of AIDS

One day, Shaggi threw a stolen purse over a wall. He didn't know that a gang was living in the abandoned night club on the other side. The police arrived before Shaggi could get away and he got rounded up along with everybody else. They held a gun to Elisabeth's baby to make sure that nobody tried to escape. To get the others off the hook, Shaggi confessed and after that the gang accepted him as one of theirs. Shaggi was generous. He shared food and money with the others. Very soon after he arrived, he got diarrhea and a bad cough that wouldn't go away. He never wanted to talk about it, never wanted to see a doctor. He didn't want to know. Shaggi had turned many tricks in the red-light district around Plaza Garibaldi. He died after three weeks in the hospital.

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Ruco and Morro fighting

A fight goes on until someone says,"I give up." The others stand around in a ring both to watch and to make sure that nobody intervenes. "Let them be! Let them work it out on their own!" Morro didn't like the way Ruco had been harassing one of the girls and after he won the fight, Ruco was expelled from the group.

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Ismael and Blanca

I hadn't seen the children from the bus terminal for a couple of days. I had heard rumors that they had been picked up for a number of burglaries the past Sunday. But now they are back. Laughing hysterically, they tell me about how they fled from the reformatory in Iztacalco. Fortunately, the police hadn't brought them to the juvenile penitentiary in Centro Medico, from which it is impossible to escape. We sit there outside the bus terminal. A delivery truck from Coca Cola pulls upright in front of us. First, the children try to bully the driver into giving them a drink, but finally they win his sympathy and he gives them two sodas each. The children are very dirty and have sloppy crew-cuts. Everyone has a bottle of glue which they sniff openly. They have a pair of boxing gloves which they all share. They take off their shirts and start playfights to the merriment of the passers-by, news-dealers and policemen.