Kids on the Streets

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Kids playing on the streets of Dos Quebradas, Colombia.

During my childhood, the internet was not accessible, even less in a country like Colombia. I used to play with the neighborhood kids until dawn. We played at the pool, hide and go sick, we walked our dogs together, we played with marbles or run around the mountains of our grandparent’s farms. We used to get home so dirty that our parents would get upset because we ruined our clothes all the time.  One time, I remember we were pretending we were making soup with the pool water and pine tree leaves, it was the coolest thing ever, I thought. We used to eat the “lemon plants,” that’s what we called them; they looked like shamrocks. When it was mango season, we used to eat the ripe mangoes from the mango tree in our community. We used to watch the sun and moon eclipses as a neighborhood, and light hundreds of candles as a community on the 7th and 8th of December, during the day of Virgin Mary. We called it, The Day of the Candles. At my grandparent’s home we ate the berries from the bushes on the streets. Hiking was not something we had to make a day for it was our everyday life; if we wanted to visit family we hiked, if we wanted to play hide and go seek we hiked, and if we wanted to buy candy or a delicious coconut ice lolly we hiked. It was our favorite thing to do. The local pools were the ravines, and still are today.

In 1999 after arriving to Florida, United States, I noticed the kids did not play outside much. Most of them had to be accompanied of their parents, I was not used to this. Either way, I made some friends and we would play together outside. We would listen to music on the Walkman, and the  CD player. We still played hide and go seek. Circumstances changed and we had to be home more than we wanted because our parents were not home, so we had to stay together in one house until they arrived from work.

Shortly after, the internet became more accessible and we began creating AOL usernames and e-mails for instant messaging our cousins in Colombia and random people we met online, it was totally harmless. Now, if we observe ourselves today, we are constantly using a phone to either chat, play games, or browse the internet and social media websites. Kids don’t run, hide and play like they used to, some of them do but most don’t. It is rare to see a community were kids still play outside and share these kind of moments together. When I see kids playing in their own tablet, not interacting with each other, it makes me wonder how it will be ten or even five years from now. It makes me wonder about how these kids will grow up, and how different their minds will develop. I am not judging, I am just wondering because times have changed so much.

Change is part of life and it is inevitable, if it wasn’t for it everything would be too boring. If time didn’t change things, I believe that us, as humans, by nature, would do something to form some kind of change in our lives, in the world. We all do it, constantly. We are not aware of it. We have already done it, just look back one week from today, one month, six months even a year and you’ll see how much you have changed. I don’t mean physically, but mentally, emotionally.

For us who got to experience a childhood enjoying the wonders of the outside world, I feel extremely thankful.

-K

Please forgive and grammar errors and typos.

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