The Best Plate of Chicken
The scrape on his leg had turned into an abscess. I had gone looking for this precious 14 year old at the end of the day after a long week but couldn’t find him. But as I headed home, my phone rang.
“Hermana, I’m at the market and my leg is worse!” He told me.
I found him a little bit later, feverish and in so much pain. One of his buddies came along to the hospital to keep him company. Little R was so brave as they drained the wound.
“You were braver than all the older kids that have come here!” The nurse told him afterwards. R looked at me and wiped away the tears as he gave me a high five.
“I was brave even though I cried a little bit!” He told me.
I had 20 bolivianos left over after paying the hospital bills... the exact amount needed to take the boys to get chicken. As I ordered, the staff at the restaurant glanced at the boys. “This is to go right?” They asked me. I shook my head. “Well, those kids can’t eat in here. They are street kids.” The lady told me. I started to get mad. “Look at them!” I told her, “they are sitting nicely and not bothering anyone. The food is paid for and they are with me! You are discri
minating against these boys.” They got really quiet and I went to sit down where the boys were waiting. A few minutes the waiter brought the two plates of chicken for the boys.
Little R looked at me. “Hermana, aren’t you going to eat?” He asked me. I smiled, “Don’t worry about it buddy. I only had enough for you guys. It’s ok.” He looked at his buddy and back at me. “No... go get an empty plate. We are a family and we all eat together. You are like our mom and I will share my food with you.”
The restaurant staff stared as two little street boys shared half of their food with the gringa. My heart wanted to explode as these two precious boys shared the little they had with me. The other kiddo kept glancing over at the staff. “Why do they keep staring!?” He asked. “Don’t worry about it,” R told him, “just enjoy your food and don’t let it affect you amigo.”
That scraped together plate of chicken was delicious. Not so much because of the flavor but because two brave and amazing little boys who sat across from me. Our family.