Kids at Work

Addis Ababa, November 2011. I’m still having great difficulty accepting the fate of so many Ethiopian children who ‘must’ work for a living. It becomes one of those facts of life with which we move through on a daily basis.

We see this little boy every morning when taking our kids to school. He has always impressed us with his calm, determined demeanor and his professional approach to work. Thor has helped him improve his ‘product’ by supplying shoe creams and a cleaner polishing cloth. We also encourage more parents to slow down and get a shine. He works the two block stretch where parents park and walk their children to the Lycee. A shine with creme costs 5 birr or about USD 30 cents. For comparison, a cup of coffee is about 10 birr, the local newspaper is 6 birr or a locally baked roll of bread might cost 6 birr.

The reality is that many, many families here cannot survive without the income from their children. I’m assuming that he has a family because I notice that his clothes are cleaned once a week and he himself appears well-fed and dressed.

We have learned that he goes to school in the afternoons. I can only hope!

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