Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Another One Slips Through the Cracks

Photo by: Slices of Time. Amazing stuff! Check it out!

We have a boy that sits near our apartment a least a couple of days of the week. His name is Leandro.

When Mr. Rant first talked to him he still looked fresh faced and somewhat innocent. Leandro never would quite answer Mr. Rant's questions about family or why he was not in school. He must be around 13 years old but is already guarded.

Over time we learned that he has a baby sister and we would pass along the baby clothes the boys had outgrown. We also passed along some of Mr. Rants sweaters to keep him warm in the evening.

And Leandro was always clean and dressed. He usually had something to pull out for a snack in addition to what people gave him. You could see that he had a place somewhere although he never said anything about parents.

Anyway, Leandro has been around more and more and I have seen him chatting with some less then desirable characters. The thing is that drugs are quite common when you live on the streets. Hell, if I had to live on the streets in Rio de Janeiro, I'd probably end up self-medicating as well.

So it broke my heart a little bit when I ran into him in the convenience store the other day. First off, he was not sober nor was he clean.  The workers were watching him and called over the security guard as he was counting his change to see if he had enough to buy a soda. When he got in line behind me I had the cashier scan it, I gave him back, and I told him that I had this one.

While I know they had a right to be cautious, how shitty must he have felt to not even be welcome in a freaking store to buy a soda. Then again, security is a fact of life down here.

My heart broke completely when I saw him this morning. He was slumped by the curb, filthy, and with a smile of contempt for the world. His eyes were glazed and he immediately reminded me of the street kids who attacked my friends.

And yet another child slips through the cracks... I really hope I'm wrong about this one but the odds are with me. 


  1. That's awful! I spent some time recently in an urban neighborhood in Hollywood working with this urban outreach program. It was interesting to see the kids ages 11-14 struggling with whether or not to join the gangs.

    And you can't help but wonder if there's something you can do...

  2. They have some programs but have real issues with the kids staying. It has to be voluntary. I have gone over and over bringing him home with me but it's just not safe. Not safe for the kids, for us, or anyone in the building... Sad. I feel like my hands are tied sometimes.

  3. This is really sad. Unfortunately you're right, bringing him home isn't safe for your family either. I hope he gets some help.

  4. Be careful sweetie - bringing him home is not a good idea. But you can continue to demonstrate to him that you wish him the best. He will know what you are doing. Change in these situations is difficult!