Friday, August 20, 2010


Music began thumping and I looked up to see all of the kids gathered at the far end of the room. As the hip hop melody drifted towards me, they lined up and began a cat walk of sorts; one at a time showing off their modeling skills. They walked towards me, blowing kisses on either side, performing dance like twists and turns to outdo their forerunner. When one boy added a dance move to his strut, the other kids quickly swarmed the center of the room and began demonstrating their break dancing moves. The girls continued blowing kisses and giggled embarrassedly when they saw I was watching.

The fun soon ended as the kids made their way outside and picked up their sacks, some full of cans and other recyclables, some empty. An argument broke out between two of the kids.

“I let you borrow 20 baht, and I need it back!”
“I know I borrowed it from you but I cannot pay you. I don’t have any money. I have no money and you know that.”
“I just need the money.”

The argument escalated as they threatened to hit each other. These kids have grown up on the streets; they don’t know how to talk calmly about a situation. They’ve been raised by violence. Survival and money is at the forefront of their minds.

Children should be allowed to live as children. Children their age are usually juggling time between family, friends, homework, and play. Yet, these beautiful children have to go to the streets everyday to collect garbage. They are expected to bring home enough money to feed their parents and younger siblings.

I hope that when they’re older, they will think back to those mornings at the drop in center. I hope that when they have children of their own they will remember the desperation and fear they felt when they approached their parents with only a few baht in hand, even though they’d worked all day long. I hope that when they look in the eyes of their children, they will realize that they deserve to be children. I hope a lot of things for these kids. But I guess that more than anything I hope that they will know how much they are worth. And if given the chance, they could have the potential become doctors, teachers, or even runway models.

Photos by Michelle Larson :)

1 comment:

Becca Michelle said...

That made me want to cry. that absolutely breaks my heart. Thanks for using the gifts God gave you to tell us so vividly what's happening over there.

Love you always!