“I think that the parents are more than happy to send their children here, instead of keeping them at home. They don’t know me, they have never even seen me before, yet they still send them; it is not a problem, it is one less mouth to feed.”
Elizabeth, a European woman who has lived in Bolivia for over eight years, discusses the particulars of being a child guardian in South America’s poorest country. “Some children grow up in a place that really has nothing, no running water, no electricity, nothing at all,” she says. “When it rains, it rains on their beds; the beds they share by the half-dozen.”
This is one of the reasons Elizabeth brings children in from the village. She stresses that there are children living here that already lost every opportunity in life. Many can barely read and write, and the majority begin to work at an early age.