Yesterday I walked to my old mission companion's house along a road built on a ridge. The houses are gigantic and stand, facing out like sentinels, guarding a valley of other, equally-gigantic houses... and yet, as I walked and stared at them, the space felt so empty and void of life.
Last week I was walking each day through the chaos of Barrio Lujan in Reconquista--barefooted, sticky-handed children climbing trees or slingshotting birds or throwing rocks at stray dogs, teenagers smoking on the corner, blasting raggaeton or playing spirited games of soccer, grandparents sitting in lawn chairs sipping mate and grumbling about the teenagers. I remember what Sister Ayala said, somewhat cynically, as she led us through all the commotion to her house: “we are never short on kids or dogs.”
Now, I stare at these neighborhoods and I think, “where are the kids? where are the dogs? where is the dirt?” I know there are kids because my dad told me that we have at least an entire schoolbus of kindergarteners in our little housing complex alone. But why don’t I ever see them and how is it that we so successfully keep our children cooped up? Is something oppressive happening?