Morning walk. Evening walk.
Que hora es? Espana? Italia? Oh America, you speak English? Good I like English. I speak it. I am from Mosquito Coast, I no speak Spanish. How long are you here? I come here from Mosquito Coast, I have beautiful bay, we fish for shrimp and lobsters, you should come to my village and we will eat shrimp and lobsters, you will see how we live, I teach children there, I work with orphans, I lost my wife and children in 1980 when they drop a bomb in my village so we take guns and we fight but now I am old, I no want to fight, you have map of Nicaragua? You should come to my village we will eat shrimp and lobsters, I teach children there but we have no map, you can have a map from the tourist office here but they tell me no, you can get a map from them, oh! You will get a map for me! One more block this way then over. Thank you, you are very good person! The government he says I cannot work because I fight but I want to buy seeds for beans to feed the children, one more block up and then over, I have sailing boat, you know how I have boat? I am out in my small boat last year and I find three Australians drifting in their boat, I bring them to land, they say we have money, get me to Managua, they fly home and give me their boat, but I no need boat, I make five more of them one more block up then one more over, we go this way…see that woman in green that is the tourism office I will walk ahead because I already went there and they say no…
Oh thank you for the map, let me show you where my village is, Bismuna, there, that is where I am from, to get here I first go to Waspan then to Bilwi then all the way to Granada, but I want to buy seed but he tell me I cannot work because I fight. How do they treat you in Spain? Here I have no water no food I go to ask for some water they tell me I am “negro” and give me no water, these donations, they are for the children, I am not a beggar, I come to buy seed then in few months I have food for the children, he say I cannot have seed, for a few pounds of seed I can feed the children, a pound of seed costs 15 cordoba in the market, they have seed, I am not beggar, there is car that will take me home tonight at 8:00, I have not eaten, I want to get some water and bread and go, I don’t want to stay here, I was walking and I see tiger and elephant and then I see you and I ask you what time it is, you say you no have watch I say no problem, you remember? I will always remember how you walk how many blocks with me? I will never forget this, I have the map now for the children, here is my internet and phone number, you can call me free from USA, come and eat shrimp and lobsters, I work with orphans…here put it in my hat so people don’t see, they will think me beggar.
The skinny street kids, bare feet, torn clothes that don’t fit, big brown eyes Senor, two dollar two dollar, their fingers point at the plate, food senor two dollar.
They can wait a long time. I mentally research through discussions of this in Nepal.
What do you do? What is real? What do our actions help or hurt?
Evening walks are worse.
The girl in knee-high black boots, little black vest, hair all done up, tight pants, standing on the corner. She looks at me with a sort of glaze on her eyes.
She can’t be more than fifteen years old.