Today has been the hardest so far, I cannot actually explain what I have seen, it was just out of this world, I can't even begin to tell myself that this is really life, it was just so wrong on so many levels. Let me expand abit, we entered a park (HUGE) which used to attract families and couples with beautiful landscapes but is now nothing near beauty. The dangerous street gangs have taken it over, The park is overgrown with cactus' and weeds and in the gaps are groups of children completely far from this planet. We walked down a bumpy path, into a area with about 15 children, I have never seen anything like this, the closer we got the stronger the scent of glue, the smell was awful, one you can't forget. The children were completly drugged up, all over the place. Now I didn't no before we went to this group that they are actually known to be the most dangerous street gang in Cochabamba, these children are involved in stealing, murder, abuse of all kinds, so what has driven them to this, their family background. We don't know all there stories, but these children are damaged, you can see it in their eyes. Towards the end of our visit we were hovering around their 'home' if you could call it a home, a place surrounded by rubbish and filth, I turned around to see a young boy cutting himself, this ripped my heart into shreds, it was actually his birthday today and in South America, families make a big deal over birthdays and celebrate there lives, but for street children it is never a fun day because they don't have anything to be thankful for. We took a cake with us for him and everyone sang happy birthday (in spanish) he was crying the whole way through, he would have woken up this morning thinking that he would have to get as high as possible to knumb the pain of know one caring that it was his birthday, but he saw that so many people did care and he was so grateful. The street team working with these children are doing an amazing job, usually when people from outside the come and visit, there can be trouble and a swift exit is needed, remember this gang is the most dangerous group, but today the children were welcoming and caring, which is unusual. They could see that we had come to see them because we care about them, this reflected onto them, they are out family as well. To walk away from this group was possible the hardest thing I have ever done in my life, and that is not an overstatement, one of the girls asked me if I could pack her in my suitcase, I would if I could. All day these children have stuck in my mind and I think they will for sometime, I cannot begin to explain the contrast between here and home, how can I, but what I can explain is that these children are being looked after by an amazing group of volunteers, the work they are putting into this group is amazing and there is huge vision for these children in the future, yes it is hard to walk away from, but the people working with them, know best and I thank God for them they are a blessing for those children.
I had a bit of banter today with one of the directors of Toybox about how Bolivians talk on their mobiles, they move the phone from their ear to their mouth when they talk, and it just amuses me. I ate cow's tongue and octopus today, it wasn't that bad either. Also lots of Matta de Coco today again, me and the altitude are not getting on at all, hopefully it will be better tomorrow as we are traveling by bus in the evening to Oruro, which is just over 3000metres, 1000meters higher that Cochabamba
We drove through many crazy roads today in our mini bus, bumpy, pots wholes, narrow (very narrow) bridges, rocks.....and of course what does this mean a flat tyre......Max the driver did very well. I usually sit up front with Max as its the best place to take photos whilst we are on the move. It is amusing sometimes because I speak a tiny bit of spanish (actually which I believe has improved alot over the past couple of days) to Max and then he will start a conversation with me knowing I have know idea what he is saying, and then I will just reply with something random in english, and so it goes on, he's a funny guy.
So today has been one of those days where everything has been like a dream, I know myself that what I have seen is really life because I experienced it with my own eyes, but to recall it just doesn't connect with me, I want to tell myself that these children aren't living like this, but the reality is that they are. I am so thankful for the charity and what they are doing, the hearts of these people is amazing and they are such humble people, I send all my blessings to them.