When I arrived in Mexico City 1986 there were no were no social workers trying to help the people living on the streets. They were neglected by society only seen and helped by padre Chinchacoma a Spanish monk how had been living together with them and afterwards started homes where the mostly young people could live and study. He became my mentor. I started documenting the lives of young people the next 10 years, learning from them with the aim of showing the work in Mexico hoping to inform and create awareness among the public.
Here everything is raw. Reality. Food. Eyes.
Nothing has to be elaborated. Everything is thrown in their faces.
Aggressive nicknames, ruthless laughter, plunder, sneering, ridicule,the scar that never heals, the manhandling, the crudeness.
Broken bones heal by themselves.
Manuel Cappelin, chairman of Casa Allianza says, ”Ten kids arrive daily in Mexico City. Sixty percent of the children come from the country. The remaining 40 percent were born here; sons and daughters of a new generation, their parents arrived fifteen years or more ago on buses, trains and trailers. Many didn't go any further. They stayed in the train stations, in the Central de Abastos market. Five out of ten kids are engulfed by the street and end up living in the Metro's ventilation systems, sewers, caves, on construction sites, in abandoned houses in which thirty and even forty share two rooms. They also sleep on top of bus stops covered with newspapers and an occasional blanket.”
Excerpt from Children of the streets and Epilogue
by Elena Poniatowska.
© Kent Klich. All rights reserved.