It’s Terribly Wrong

My Tuesday started with a Facebook message from a field assistant and a sinking feeling: a link to a news article from the local paper and a “did you know this kid?”

A 12-year-old boy died at the trash dump on Monday night. He climbed up onto a big truck, to get a chance to grab some bags before anyone else, fell off when the truck swerved, and got run over. Run over at least once, some say twice. His body was flattened and he died quickly. I went to work with dread, wondering if it was someone I knew and scared to find out.

I spent the morning talking to shaken people who witnessed the accident. By midday my head was spinning with phrases from various women’s accounts of the afternoon.

The truck driver saw what he did and ran. He was scared. But it wasn’t his fault. It was an accident.

The boy was crying and screaming, and then he sort of gasped, and didn’t scream anymore.

I didn’t want to see the body—my sister went, though I told her not to, and she came back trembling and crying.

I am hopelessly angry. Not at the truck driver, or the kid, or even his parents. I am mad that children are allowed to enter the dump. I am mad that the kids don’t get fed enough at school so they come scavenging. I am mad that people gather and sell recyclables in these dangerous conditions because there aren’t enough real jobs.

I am sad, from hearing so many stories of mothers who have lost their children. 

Read the article, in Spanish, here: http://lamañ


4 thoughts on “It’s Terribly Wrong

  1. Sorry to hear about this tragedy. His parents must be devastated.

    As you point out the problem is a systemic one stemming mainly (but not only) from poverty. While on one extreme some people can afford (and actually buy) watches for hundreds of thousands $, paintings and yachts for millions, one third of mankind gets by on $1 a day and two third on $2 a day …

    As you may know, thousands of children die from gastrointestinal infections due to the lack of access to clean water. It would cost $60 billion to fix this. For comparison, our annual military budget is $650 billion …

    By an large the mankind has not yet reached the level of genuine and sustained human solidarity on the national, let alone global level.

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