One of the things that I admire about children in less financially prosperous communities is their competence. From a very young age they are able to successfully handle many things that their counterparts from more affluent households wouldn’t begin to know how to approach: growing and harvesting crops, cooking, caring for younger siblings, shepherding livestock, selling fruits and vegetables in the market. Yet mixed with my admiration for their abilities is a hope that these hard-working children will one day get their “fair share”.
The particular girl in these photographs, Anyelica, handled her chores as a young child with great discipline and good humor. She was deservedly proud to show me what she did to contribute to the well-being of her family as she worked diligently around her home. From cleaning, to washing, to preparing food, she did it all. As she grew older her life took a dramatic turn (resulting from an incredibly intelligent and committed aunt who found her way to Europe and strove to help her extended family, among others).
At age 17, Anyelica now lives in a nicely finished house with all the amenities, multiple bedrooms, a modern kitchen, trendy furniture, and a gated yard - in an entirely different neighborhood. She spends her time studying or lounging on her pillowed bed, keeping up with her friends via chats on her i-pad. Somewhat out of place when she visits her old neighborhood, I wonder how much she thinks about what her life might have been.