This is a story of a little girl that I met at the garage sale in Pacifico de Villa. When she arrived at the garage sale, she seemed very happy. She was waiting eagerly to enter and to buy a new pair of shoes, which she really needed. She asked me if we had any shoes, size 37 for a girl. I had to say no. [Not being able to find a pair of shoes] I began to look for toothpaste which I knew would be better for her. I found a child’s size toothpaste, and a pink, child’s size toothbrush. Immediately, the girl thought about her brother and decided that she better buy another toothbrush and toothpaste. She left the garage sale, pleased to have been able to purchase toothbrushes and toothpastes, but disappointed that she was unable to find a pair of size 37 shoes.
As she left I decided I would like to interview her. I asked her if she would mind being interviewed. She told me with great enthusiasm that she would gladly be interviewed.
This is the story of Daniela Erika Palomino Huallpa, a kind and polite ten year old, from Pacifico de Villa. Daniela studies at San Pablo of Chorrillos and is in fifth grade. She lives in Pacifico de Villa in Area 1, Lot 21, in front of the San Pedro church. She shared with me the story of her life.
Daniela’s family does not own a home. She, her brother and their mother live in her aunt’s house. There are many problems in her aunt’s house. There are often arguments over cleaning the house, and the water use (they do not have access to clean water). They are often frustrated about have to always depend on other people.
Her mother maintains the house. She works all day as a bus attendant. She receives just enough to pay for food, and some other things that are needed in the house. She is a single mother as Daniela’s father, abandoned them when Daniela was very young. Her mother is her hero because each day she tries to advance. Her sole focus is the well being of Daniela and her brother. Daniela loves school. Mathematics is her favourite subject. Although she likes school, she is lonely. She prefers to finish her homework, rather than playing outside with her friends. She likes to play once she has finished her homework. As a result, she does not have many friends.
She said that she is not happy because her family does not have a house; she does not have her own space, a place where she can rest in peace. She is also sad because she does not know her father. One of Daniela’s dreams is to meet her dad. To meet him would make her “completely happy”.
Daniela is a busy ten year old girl. In the morning she prepares lunch for her mother and her litter brother and cleans her room. She then heads to school. On the way to school, she takes lunch to her mother, at the bus station. Once she returns from school she completes here homework. She admits that life is challenging, but that being responsible is important because her brother and mother need her help.
She hopes one day to become a lawyer because she believes in social justice, and feels that everyone deserves an equal opportunity. She thinks that everyone has a responsibility to share with those who have little. Her community is a poor community but she thinks about change, especially for the children. She has a strong desire to help people achieve the common good for their community and the world.
Despite her young age, Daniela is very mature. She believes that we must try to live one day at a time, trying to change, despite the challenges that life brings. She will work hard to help her brother become a doctor and she too wants to progress. She is driven by the desire to care for her heroine, her mother, as she has cared for her and her brother. She hopes to care for her and protect her and shelter her and give her all that she needs.
I send a hug to everybody in Canada. I hope that the story of Daniela’s life will not be read as a story of failure or pain. To the contrary, Daniela wants her history to be told with great joy, because she says that she is a happy and fun loving person and this is how she wants her story to be told.
Pacifico de Villa, Friday November 11, 2011
Translated by Larry Shuttleworth