The visitors came bearing gifts: bags of baby and small child clothes, shoes, even some toys. But then she started pulling almost-new shoes out of a particular sack and explaining that she brought these shoes and clothes on behalf of the parents of the three. Although they are sniffing glue more than ever, drinking, fighting, and basically devastated about the loss of their children, they have not been able to think through practical steps to regain them. One bright spot: they are going to church every Sunday, black eyes and addictions and all.
This saddened me so much to hear. If you knew these three beautiful siblings with lovely Biblical names, believe me, you would be saddened even more than you probably are just reading that.
As we examined the nicer-than-usual shoes, my friend mentioned that since their parents are not working currently, she could pretty much say with certainty that they were bought with stolen money or from robbed goods. I'm quite sure my hand unconsciously recoiled from the most adorable pink pair.
I've lived in and/or visited Bolivia for 6 1/2 years now. I know what it's like to walk down streets where these people live, or more generally ANY street in this city and the constant fear/awareness that you could be the next victim of a pick pocket or hold up at knife point (or worse). Day or night, good part of town or bad.
And now stolen shoes grace the feet of one of MY kids?
To whoever's misfortune we owe the cute shoes...please accept our apologies!!