Tuesday, October 13

Nicolasa and Daisy

A few weekends ago, I was finally feeling good enough to eat something, so Sergio and I tried parrilladas (basically Argentinian barbeque). 

While tasty, I immediately regretted eating that dish, which included steak, pork, chicken, sausage, anticuchos (cow heart) and two pounds of french fries. I tried to wash it all down with some wine, but I knew it was going to be a rough night. 

Almost every time we eat downtown, a little boy or girl will enter the restaurant selling gum, candies, matches, or simply asking for a spare sole. Just as we finished our parrilladas, a little girl in a pink hat, not more than four years old, came up to our table to sell us candies. 

Sergio never buys, but he always gives the little kids a bite of food. He gave her some fries, and at first she didn't know what to do, so he convinced her to eat it. She was really shy, and looking over her shoulder to see if her big sister waiting outside would get mad. 

Sergio realized this and invited the big sister over to have a bite to eat. We didn't have much food left, only a few fries and a piece of chicken, but we invited them to sit down and chat. 

Nicolasa and her little sister Daisy chowed down. At this point, Daisy's shyness had completely worn off, and she was reaching for the salsas and the wine. She had decided that Sergio's sunglasses were hers, and after we took the picture above, she wanted to take a few.

I sat there just thinking about their lives. It was a Saturday afternoon, a time when a normal Peruvian kid would be kicking a soccer ball around or eating up at a family event.  These two little girls were working. 

And boy, were they happy to take a break, sit down, eat some food, use a real bathroom and teach me some Spanish. 

Thanks to the generous restaurant staff (usually they kick out kid vendors right away), we invited Nicolasa to some veggies from the salad bar. I asked her about school, about her brothers and sister, about her job. She was incredibly humble and shy, too mature for her age. 

Soon it was time to go, so we said goodbye. As Nicolasa and Daisy ran down the street, I hurried to follow them. Were there parents close by? Were they off to another restaurant? What was next for them? But after a block or so, I lost their pink hats to the crowd. 

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