I knew that when I visited Peru I would see children. I wasn’t disappointed. Just like in the U.S, they were everywhere. I saw them walking home from school as well as running and playing with friends in the street. Some were sitting on the front step of their parents’ store watching the traffic roll by. Often the little ones were carried around on their mothers’ backs inside a colorful fabric scarf.
The kids in this picture are busy twirling around to some Peruvian music, while having a cool treat. I guess I got the little girl’s attention, because she started beaming at me. I got her to keep dancing, so I could get a picture. Her brother didn’t pay much attention to me. He was too distracted by his Popsicle.
I was surprised when I saw children doing things I know I would never see in the U.S. I saw children working. They sold items to tourists on the street corners with their mothers. I saw kids separating corn from the stalks in fields, making mud bricks for homes, and standing for photographs then asking for propina, a tip. We also learned from our guides that even though it’s mandatory for kids go to school, some families don’t send them because they need to work. It was clear to me that many Peruvian families struggle to keep food on the table.
Even though I did see kids working hard, they always waved and smiled. That is something I’ve seen in both the U.S. and Peru. They played some of the same games we do, like soccer and volleyball. I love kids, and to see them in a different culture was an eye- opening experience.