Raul, 10: ‘I love the trip’

Published by rudy Date posted on February 8, 2009

HE walks the street barefoot. He is an aggressive boy and has a quick temper.

If he is displeased, Raul can tell someone straight to the face. He is often involved in fights and becomes violent under the influence of household glue.

He is street smart and would not hesitate to take advantage of his fellow street children and other people. He would deliberately appear dirty and unkempt to gain people’s pity and obtain money.

He has no qualms about begging just as he would have no uneasiness snatching hats from passengers of passing jeepneys. He has a short attention span but always insistent to be accorded priority notice.

At home, Raul is the epitome of laziness. He does not help do household chores. He just sleeps all day, wakes up at night and leaves the house and returns home when he pleases.

But he is not wanting in helping his mother financially. He would normally give her part of his earnings.

Books never appealed to him. His attendance in school doesn’t go beyond the first few days each year. He has learned to read and count though. And he wants to be a fireman.

He tried to explain why he hated school: “Once when I was at school I was asked to leave because they were afraid I would infect the other children. I had some wounds on my body at that time.”

At one point, he figured in a school fight because his classmates were teasing him. He stopped going to school altogether after that.

Raul does not remember how he got into the streets. “I just grew up in the streets,” was his simple reply.

He admits liking it because he is free to do the things that he could not do at home, including sniffing rugby. He admits to having taken marijuana and shabu.

His favorite area is the Mabuhay Rotonda where he plays because “there are less barangay watchmen waiting to arrest us.”

Rugby, like play, is part of his life in the street. Initially he would feel dizzy and light; then a sense of being powerful.

“I trip on my friends. I punch and kick them. Sometimes I taunt the passersby. I love the trip.”

Raul has been “rescued” several times by the police and the barangay tanod. He has experienced detention at barangay outposts and rehabilitation centers where he gets bored because he does not get to do what he wants.

He is not optimistic about the prospect of kicking off his vice. He only manages to stop for a while when he is in a rehabilitation center while under close watch.

Raul described his life as a cycle: “Rugby at night, sleep in the morning, play in the afternoon and rugby again.”

Though naturally intelligent and a fast learner, Raul’s progress is hindered by poverty and surroundings. His parents have lost control over him.

From time to time he abstains from household glue but this would only last for a few days. Soon he would be back to his old habit. –Manila Times

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