I Was Never a Child / Yo Jamás Fui un Niño

A Poem by Fortunato Ramos, Children’s Village Casa Chapi, Second Grade Elementary

My smile is dry and my face is serious, my broad shoulders, my hard muscles, and my hands are broken by the raw cold. I’m only eight years old, but I’m not a child.

Behind my alpacas I walk the mountain, carry my firewood down to my hut to blow the fire to make my rope, AND I DON’T HAVE TIME TO BE A KID.

The years go by and everything is the same. Dried beans with jerky, are my candies, my toy is the sheepdog, I have little time, BUT I AM NOT A CHILD.

My friend and truck is a very slow jogging donkey,
The fox steals my sheep, and I am not able to be a child.

My face is that of an old man and my walk is that of a grandfather, my calluses broken by stones from the hill, my poncho torn by the strong wind, And this tells me that I am not a child.

And there are no wise men? Aren’t there children’s days? I never had the luck to be a child!

Mi sonrisa es seca y mi rostro es serio, mis espaldas anchas, mis músculos duros, mis manos partidas por el crudo frio. Solo ocho años tengo, pero no soy un niño.

Detrás de mis alpacas ando por el cerro. Y carga´u mi leña bajo hasta mi choza, a soplar el fuego a mismiar mi soga, Y NO TENGO TIEMPO PARA SER UN NIÑO.

Los años caminan y todo es lo mismo, moti, sal con charqui son mis caramelos, mi juguete es el perro ovejero, poco tiempo tengo, PERO NO SOY UN NIÑO.

Mi avión de juguete es un pájaro viego, mi camión es un burro de trotar muy lento, mi amigo, es el zorro que roba mis ovejas, y es todo mi consuelo de poder ser un niño.

Mi rostro es de viejo y mi andar de abuelo, mis callos partidos por piedras del cerro, mi poncho rotoso por el fuerte viento. Todo eso me dice, que no soy un niño.

¿Y no hay reyes magos? ¿No hay días del niño? ¡Jamás tue suerte de poder ser un niño!

Our children at Casa Chapi are able to further their education thanks to your generous donations.

The Casa Chapi Family Tree of Giving gives each donor a range of options for expressing their love and support for Casa Chapi. 100% of what you give is spent directly on the operation of Casa Chapi.

To learn more about the Family Tree of Giving, click the link below.

Xeina is a recent high school graduate now moving onto college in Maryland. This is an interview about what the future holds for her.

Q: Now that you have completed high school, what’s next, Xeina?

A: My next steps are for me to go to college, my summer was busy but ready for college. I am either go into medicine to become a surgeon or any other type of doctor or I’ll be going to business. I am not sure yet, but whatever path I take my heart will be with it.

Q: What are you looking forward to the most while in college?

A: Well making friends, study hard to achieve what I want but also have a great experience.

Q: Why is education important for you?

A: Education is important to me because without it you limit your potential to become more than what you think. Also education is important because is this life education is everything and learning new skills. 

Q: Do you have any words of encouragement for future college-bound students that may have reservations/hesitations?

A: I am not sure how college is going to be because I haven’t started yet, but trust me that college is not just study, is also the connections you make. The people you meet and the new skills you learn.

Q: Any other comments or remarks for our community at Quechua Benefit?

A: I just want to say thank you for all the people who has followed my journey until today. I am really grateful because if it wasn’t for you guys, I wouldn’t be here ready to go to college and give everything of me, study hard, but also enjoy my experience. You guys are part of my life and I hope to make each and everyone of you proud of me. Thank you again!

Inspired by Xeina’s story? Your gift today will help her, and others like her, create opportunities to make an impact in their communities. Click the link below to give the gift of higher education.