Newspaper Archive of
Arkansas Catholic
Little Rock, Arkansas
August 19, 1990     Arkansas Catholic
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August 19, 1990

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P,~.GE 6 A~NSAS CA'I;H6LIC " AUGUST ! 9, In Guatemala-- Guatemalan street kids play Guatemala City. in the B4zdo Fraze/CNS enclosed courtyard of Casa Allanza, in By Barb Fraze Guatemala City (CNS)- When l -year-old Nahaman Carmona Lopez was kicked to death by Guatemalan police in March, of- ficials of the local Covenant House affiliate decided to get tough, said director Bruce Harris. Since then, Caaa Alianza - as Covenant House is known in Spanish - brings charges against "anybody who uses physical or sexual abuse" on the children, Harris said. In a recent interview, Harris ran through a list of cases that Casa Atian,za and other * Police officers for allegedly beadng two of Nahaman's friends. * A 38-year-old man who allegedly pays 5 quetzales (just over $1) to sexually abuse children. * Police officers who forced two children to swallow the bags of glue the kids were caught sniffing. * Police officers who took teenagers into the basement of a shopping center and set attack dogs on them. "What is distressing is not one case has been concluded," Harris said. "These kids are not angels," Harris said, "These kids are not bad kids," he noted. They "only reflect what society has taught them to do." The balding Harris - known as "Frente Papa" ("Forehead Papa") to the kids - esti- mates that between 1,000 and 3,000 children live full time on the streets of Guatemala City. Most of their problems stem from poverty, he said. 'q'here is no food on the table at home." Many of the children are vicdms of physical abuse, often by stepfa- thers, he said. Casa Alianza sends out "street educators" to work with the kids. The street educators also carry a first-aid kit to help treat any wounds the children have incurred. At the Casa Alianza crisis center, chil- dren find shelter, showers, secondhand clothing, dental care, sports, classes and "more than anything a safe place to live," Harris said. The crisis center houses 60-70 children per night, and they are free to leave if they choose. Each time they retum, however, the staffmakes it a little harder for them. Harris said this is done in little steps: initially, a child is not questioned; if he leaves and re- turns, he might have to promise to brush his teeth every day. "A child often has to hit rock bottom on the streets before he realizes the street is not a good place to be," Harris said. Cecilio, 12, has been in and out of Covenant House. He, like others in the house, fights the urge to return to the freedom of the streets. "One day I was in the doorstep," Cecilio said. "I saw one of the kids (outside) eating something I liked. Once I was in the streets, I wanted to sniff glue again," he said. child advocacy groups are involved in. They have brought charges against: Across from University Mall & Park Plaza Mall, adjacent to SL Vincent Inf'u-mary Medical Center and Doctor's Hospital. Enjoy a cozy, comfortable atmosphere within walking distance to War Memorial them without violence,"~ he said. 'q'hese children rob, steal (but) most of - Cecilio's hair is short - he had his head ~s~haved after police dumped glue on his Stadium, a golf course and zoo. " " " F " 301 South Umverslty, Ldtle Rock... or reservations and- :'mformatmn, call (501) 664-6800 v" Non-smoking & harl apped rooms v/ Kitchenettes v/ Complimentary Continential breakfast Controlled access after 11 PM v/ Moderately priced The Gueahouse Inn is close to where you need to be., serving the medical center visitors, busine~ & leis~e travelers alike.. Make the Guestheuse Inn your home away from home. Managed by Tom & Judy Adam, mem~rs of lmmaculate Conception Parish, N L.R. John Michael Talbot and Staff invite you to experience Christian rowth and healing on the "'holy mountain'%.. ! THE 12 STEPS ,- A CHRISTIAN WAY OF LIFE September 14 - 16 A weekend workshop to assist addictive, dysfunctional, spiritually wounded people; people in ministry and others inlearning the 12 Step Program, initially created for alcoholics, which has also helped countless others to grow spiritually; with Bill Godfrey, noted speaker at CFO camps, 12 Step Program events; spiritual direction & counseling; member, Associaation of Christian therapists. PERSONAL & ANCESTRAL HEALING: GOD'S CALL TO RAISE UP A HOLY PEOPLE September 20 - 23 A retreat that examines the blocks to God's love in our personal lives and through ances- tral patterns, within a setting of discernment & healing prayer, to open us more fully for living a life of holiness by choice; with Margaret (Peg) Crepeau, distinguished Christian psychothera- pist, nationally known speaker at workshops & retreats; Marquette University faculty member. Write or call for information and complete 1990 schedule: Little Portion Retreat Center at MORE Mountain Route 4, Box 430 Eureka Springs, AR 72632 (501) 253-7379 head. "When we are out in the street and~ start smelling the glue, we pass out," explained. 'Then the policemen come search for the glue and put On an overpass in the poor Guatemala city, 14-year-old Carlos Enriq~ Coy sat on a wall, sniffing a nearly bag of glue. Dressed in worn tennis brown pants and a blue T-shirt that adv~[ tises "Iowa Peace Institute," Carlos tal~J with mixed emotions about returning ~!I Covenant House to stay. , i',t "I don't like to be there anymore, ~! said. "I got bored from being there." !r| Carlos said he pays slightly more tl~| the equivalent of a dollar for a bag of gl~[ To get the money, he steals and sells !~ merchandise. " If we,steal fromsomebody in the at! they don t chase us, he pointed out. He said he sleeps on the steps of ne~ buildings, and if he gets hurt, "the str~ educators heal us." Although police ~ s' dumped glue on his head, once th~,[ a him go when he was caught stealing a ~ jack, he said. ,, Carlos knows'where his family lives, ~| he said he would like to return, "butjl~t~ ~ see them." , I e "I wouldn t want to stay," he said. :.[ q wouldn't like them to see me this~.,| h I'm lost. I m ashamed for them to see p like this. ii] b Carlos Enrique Coy, wall in Guatemala City of glue. Bad= 14, sits sniffing 8 "That Arkansas Wiederkehr Village Alms, AR 72821 468-2611