I met this kid this morning (January 2, 2011) in Pereira, Colombia. He was helping my uncle clean some things up from the front porch. His name is David, but his nickname is Gamin meaning “slumdog” in English. That is what everyone in the suburbs call him.He is 15 years old but he looks a lot younger because of the malnutrition that he has because of the poor quality of life he lives. His home is 45 minutes away from where I was staying at. He lives with his mom and younger siblings; his dad is dead, therefore he works in the streets running errands for people in exchange of anything to bring back home for his mom to help his family survive. Sometimes people give him food as a trade of his help. Most people just give him a couple of “Pesos” which is the Colombian currency.
After he helped my uncle with the errands around the house. (which were to move some bricks to the back porch and clean a dirty pan) He gave him a couple of pesos and my aunt served him some breakfast. I was sitting down at the table when he sat down across from me. He kept staring at me since the first moment he went inside the house. I wonder what was going through his mind. I was still eating my breakfast when he sat down at the table. I felt overwhelmed, I didn’t know how to act, I was moved by him, his life, how hard he works for just a couple of cents. He was so skinny. I felt like I was really living, that my trip to Colombia was complete I had to see this in person. I could not stop staring at him. When I was done with my food he was still eating. I stood up from the table looked at the plate and said “thank you” to my aunt. I couldn’t help tears coming to my eyes but I didn’t want them to see me like this, so I held my tears. I had never felt so Thankful to have food in my life, I felt that Thank you come so deep from my heart. I can’t imagine not knowing if I will be able to eat today. This is the life this kid was living and I was feeling part of it somehow. I felt so deprived not being able to help him. He truly touched my heart.
This is the reality for thousands of kids in Colombia. He changed my life.