Children caring for children can be a tender example of a deep affection that one has for the other but too often it is an indication of the absence of a caring adult. Children left alone to fend for themselves leads to abuse and all too often tragedy.
In the neighborhood, the old grannies are often the ones left to mind the little ones while parents are out. Out doing what, would be any one’s guess.
Oh, I’m not pointing fingers or laying blame. I will leave that to those who have better insights into the cultural, ethnic or social factors involved.
Mine is to capture the subtle gestures that belie a sense of security that may at first seem apparent. The pensive, slightly frightened look on the little boy’s face, the baby’s trusting submission to the older girl’s tugging and pulling on her hair, trying to arrange it in a style that both passes the time until someone comes home to fix a meal and keeps her occupied so as not to notice there is nothing to eat in the house.
Stairs can either be a way up or a way down. It is the large question in the lives of these children. Which way will they go? Is there an adult that has the resources and desire to help them go up and onward to a productive, meaningful life? Or, well they like so many children, become victims of abandonment and neglect?
The skinny sleeping dog is a picture of the political system that surrounds these children, suppose to be protecting the house but unmotivated to do much apart from scrounge for scraps and snooze. The doll is a picture of the reality of children without adult maintenance, love or supervision. Neglected, ratty haired children carelessly thrown aside will end up in the scrap heap of life. The slippers represent the well meaning plans and social programs intended to carry these children to a better life. Many times they only protect the bottoms of their feet but don’t do much to get them on the harder paths of life, where the sharp spines and stones lie. They are there ready to help but are often ill fitting, flimsy and somewhat worn.
There are many parents who love and nurture there children. Thankfully, most parents do with great sacrifice and determination, meet and even surpass the daily needs of their home and family. And I am believing that these three are soon to see mother or dad coming down the street with a big smile and a hug for each of them, perhaps a special treat that says “I love you” and fill their young hearts with the assurance that there is a secure future for them.