For the past two weeks, my Introduction to Latin American Studies class has been discussing the urbanization and growth of Latin American cities (mostly in the past 50 years). Specifically on Wednesday, we were discussing the street children, “gamines,” of Colombia. We had read for class on Wednesday about the various reason why children end up on the street. The primary reasons include: domestic violence, intense poverty, and the belief that they will have a better life on the street. To me, this idea is absolutely horrifying! Not only is the idea of child abuse abominable in my ind, but to think that these young children believe that life on the street is better than life at home is very upsetting. However, the worst is how they are treated by the population of Bogota. They are considered “a part of the landscape,” as my professor described, and they are virtually ignored by the people of the city.
In discussing los gamines, I was reminded of my Spanish 2 class from freshman year. My teacher, Sra. Rosario, was from Colombia and she was an avid Shakira and Juanes fan. One day in class, we went to the computer lab, listened to the song “La Historia de Juan” by Juanes, and read numerous articles about lo gamines and street children in South America. Many people may not know it, but “La Historia de Juan” is about los gamines. In the song, Juanes sings “Su madre lo abandonó /Supadre lo maltrató/ Su casa fue un callejón/ Su cama un cartón/Juan
preguntó por amor Y el mundo se lo negó.” As Juanes suggests in the last line, Juan is merely looking for love and the world is denying him. It is very sad to think that there children living in such wretched conditions around the world. I think it is good that singers like Juanes, who garner international attention, bring awareness to issues like these and I hope that the street children will not be forgotten.
I have included a link to the music video below. If you couldn’t tell from past posts, I absolutely love Juanes and I suggest that everyone listen to the song just because Juanes is amazing 🙂