Children caring for children in Las Palmas village along the Amazon River
On our Amazon River Cruise, we sometime stopped in villages to learn about their culture and life styles. The children spend their time much differently than American kids. It never seized to amaze me how responsible the children of the Amazon River were for their younger siblings. They were gentle at all times and seemed to be happy to be together. The boy in this picture carried his little brother around on his shoulders for hours. When he tired, another kid took the little guy and carried him everywhere.
These families don’t have the pleasure of a “child safe” area that will allow Mom to get any of her work done. Both parents are busy during the day with basic chores like fishing, hunting or working the fields. The kids take on the caregiver role during the day.
On a visit to a school house, the teacher asked all the children to sit on the desks that were lined up along the wall. Immediately, the older kids, who were 8-12 took the younger ones to their places. Some were lifted to the desks to sit with the older kids, and the little ones just naturally took their seats at the other kids feet.
When one kid fell, his older brother came and picked him up and took him outside. One of my fellow passengers felt bad for the little kid, so he gave him a t-shirt on his way out. The kid took it and wiped his tears with it; I guess it never occurred to him that he was receiving a gift.
I felt the loss of community life in our world as I watched these kids interact with each other. They shared everything, not that they had much and they took care of each other. Kids came and went from different family huts without a thought or invitation.
After school was out, the kids all went into the field to play soccer, their favorite pastime. Kids as small at 3 were out there and everyone who ran on the field just played. No one worried about team jerseys or referees they just played the game.
For a while, some of us went on the “field” to play with the kids. This field was just a spot where the weeds were a bit shorter than other places. It was probably shorter because the kids play there each afternoon. Somehow, in this world of villagers who work so hard just to survive, they find time to have inter village games each Sunday on these fields.