Lourdes, 9, Willoq, Peru: Lourdes gets up at five o’clock in the morning to take her cows up the mountain before school begins. After school she makes the three-mile trek back up the mountain to retrieve the cows and returns home to help her mother cook dinner. She carries her sister Benigno with her most of the day. At school she currently speaks Quechua, her native language, but next year she will be taught in Spanish.
Dimicia, 7, Chahuatire, Peru: Dimicia’s mother was instrumental in establishing a school in their small village. About the time Dimicia started first grade, her nine-year-old brother began working as a porter on the Inca Trail. For less than three dollars a day, he carries some 40 pounds of camping equipment for tourists making the popular four-day hike to Machu Picchu. Quechua
Buzayan, 6, Jinka, Ethiopia: Buzayan lives with her mother and three older sisters in a small Ethiopian village. Her father took a job as a policeman in a neighboring town and later abandoned the family for another woman. Even though it is very expensive for her, Buzayan’s mother is committed to keeping all the children in school. When I asked Buzayan about kindergarten, she squealed with delight and started jumping up and down.