jueves, 9 de agosto de 2007
MY DIMINUTIVE GUIDE
Meet Rosa, my guide
At 13 years old and at barely 4' 6", she has appointed herself my tour guide extraordinair. She comes to my house every morning at about 9:00am to tell me where we are going to visit that day. Armed with my camera, water and writing materials, we embark on our daily walking tours through the deepest parts of the city where change is needed the most.
I am actually very glad that she found me because, to tell the truth, I couldn't possibly find my way around some of the shanty towns and over crowded neighborhoods alone. She also knows the local ways so she can watch my soft American behind in tight spots.
She takes her job very seriously and makes sure that every day, she points out "interesting" places for us to visit. I wonder how many 13 year olds that I know back home could give me a tour of Lansing.
Young girls like her are out in the streets by age 5 or 6 to find their own way. They make ends meet. The lucky ones, get taken in by families that need nannies, cooks and domestic help. The others turn to men for money and get themselves saddled with several children by age 18. The smart ones like Rosa, use their wits as long as they can but quickly succumb to the stereotypical street life for lack of other opportunities.
Smiles like hers fill me with the need to do something. Another project that I am here to investigate is the creation of a primary/secondary project based school here in Malabo. I have found some Spanish companies (Barcelona) very interested in financially backing schools in Africa and a group of very talented dear friends/educators in Michigan willing to travel here to help me set it up. I will tell you more about it as I continue my research next week.