Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Children, Oh Poor Children

This morning on my way to work, I couldn’t but taste the bitterness of life as I saw a little child (around the age of 8) working that early, in a mechanic shop. One arm burdened with a heavy roll of large wires, while his hand is rolling the rest of loose wires on the ground, his hair puffed with dust, his clothes stamped with car oil and his feet barely keeping the balance, but his face… a very weird mixture of joy, fear, desperation and exhaustion. Joy for having the chance to watch children his age, clean, happy, active, ambitious, laughing in groups while walking their way to the neighborhood school right across the street. He pictures himself doing the same one day, holding his own books, having his own friends, entering the neighborhood school. Mixed with fear of being caught looking at the children and not the wires, caught by the young man in the back watching him… the shop owner most probably.
With a sudden desperation for realizing that his hopeful dreams may never come true, his future has been determined the minute he set foot in that mechanic shop…and… exhaustion. Working all day long, doing a job designed for those with tougher bodies, older people, those who have completed their education and decided to do this for a living out of passion for the career, or, out of lack of other choices. But wait, what if those older ones were just like him. Children getting no chance to be like others, worrying about the money they’ll earn in the end of each day to feed their starving stomachs, pay the rent for their families, get medicine and simple basic things.
What if the owner watching sees the reflection of his childhood in that hard working boy! It means generations have been wasted, many are being wasted, and more will be wasted in future.
Whether forced by someone or by miserable circumstances,whether his boss is harsh or gentle, what hurts me the most is the fact that this boy- like many others- is missing a lot just for being him. If he was born to rich parents, he wont miss anything, and if he does, it’ll be his own choice, because he doesn’t have to worry about money…

Child labour, such a myth. On one hand, we know that poor families can’t afford giving a normal childhood to their kids, and may not survive if the kids stopped working. But on the other hand, we can’t but feel sorry for their wasted childhood, who cannot be called childhood any longer, for they’ve skipped the careless stage to find themselves holding big serious responsibilities.
Knowing their condition, it’s not fair to force them to stop work, and it’s so wrong to watch them continue wasting their lives…

If we weren’t so self-centred, no child would waste his childhood, and if he had to work, he’ll do lighter jobs, after he’s done with his school. In a better world, poor families will get aid, they wont be left to struggle alone, while others drive their fancy cars and look for new designer clothes to replace the ones they got last month.
But unfortunately our world sucks big time! Child labour is at its peak. Child traffic is growing, and child abuse is common practise!
Not only this, but parents have reached an unbelievable level of using their children, a level where they’re ready to RENT their children in return of money! (link via: Subzero Blue). Yes, anything for money, anything for satisfying our cheap and filthy desires! Worst part is: we find excuses and we always convince ourselves and others that we’re doing the right thing!

I can’t get the picture of that boy out of my head, I can still see his hesitant smile, his tired face, and his little body standing the weight and the hard work. But what good would that do him and everyone in his situation? NOTHING!
This post remains a set of words, his picture in my mind remains a bitter shot, and his suffering will continue, everyday, he will be happy, afraid, desperate and exhausted. And everyday in that shop will add few cents to his pocket, and steal away years of his future…