Each night I sit on boulevard in with the other expats and the sweet Amazon breeze, the harmony of the street players and the come-on from the hookers, when a tap comes on my head. I spin around to see no one there, than I know it is Ruth, hiding.
Ruth walks the boulevard each night selling her Chiclets for the few cents to anyone who notices her and cares to give; most ignore her and send her on her way. Most nights Ruth and her 5 year old brother are on the boulevard until after 12am with no parental supervision.
Her sly little smile has captured my heart. I trade a few soles for a kiss on the cheek. I have been warned by multiple people not to touch or be affectionate towards the street kids. Pedophilia is so bad here that everyone is scared to death to touch a child. I refuse to relent, I love to hug and kisses from the kids.
How are these kids ever going to know what it is like to have an adult male show affection towards them without thinking they are trying to get in their pants? Who is going to teach them about healthy relationships? Do they just wait for puberty and prostitution?
I asked Paul if we could investigate Ruth’s home life and today we did. Ruth is 10 years old and has three younger siblings. She has attended school for one year of her young life, just before the male in the family jumped ship and they moved to Belen but now none of the children are in school. They live in a one room bunk house on stilts that couldn’t be more than 8’x8’, no kitchen no bathroom. The mother and four children sleep on a bed made of wood slats, no mattress, no sheets, no protection from mosquitoes.
As we sat and talked to her mother, her brother walked over and peed between the cracks in the wall, not caring who might be below. Ruth is the bread winner of the family as she sells her gum and collects about 7 soles ($2) per night. There are a hundred more just like her on the boulevard every night. Please help us help them, these are just children! www.peopleofperu.org.