New hope

After having tried for weeks, from Madrid and also from here, I have finally reached MOJOCA, another NGO which works with street children. Works out that the phone number and address I had were of a building which they are renovating, and on the door was a photocopy with a new address and phone number. So I just went there unannounced, and as with everyone in this country, they received me with open arms (no doubt that’s less related to me and more related to the way people are here).

MOJOCA (Movimiento de Jovenes de la Calle) wasn’t very big when I was last here in November 2003, but has grown out to be one of the key organizations on the subject. They used to just offer daycare – a place where one could go and bake a cake or do something else creative, get a haircut and a medical check-up – but they now have various shelters throughout the city. Funny thing is that there seems to be a sense of informal  competition between Casa Alianza and MOJOCA. As a general rule, one doesn’t really work with children from the other and vice versa. Strange eh?

In view of the little time I have left, MOJOCA offered to take me out later on today, in spite of it being Saturday, to meet two new pregnant girls. When I explained what I was looking for, they thought they could really fit the bill. That remains to be seen, but having renewed access to new people, especially to one called Chispa (= Spark), gives me new hope that I will leave here with a few important choices made.

For the rest yesterday (Friday) was very productive. The ambassador was extremely nice, and gave me several local contacts I could talk to. His background is human rights (he used to work with Amnesty International) and was really interested in the project. He also set me up with another person from the embassy who knew a lot more about safety issues and the police, and even personally escorted me to see someone in the Spanish office on the 4th floor with whom it had been hard to get in touch with (people from the AECID, who after all are paying for my trip). I also met with Save the Children, had a take-away wok lunch in a shopping centre, and a great evening with my former hostal guests sitting around drinking beers after dinner. All in all, a productive day.

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