Piggy Bank

 /   /  By Emma Birches
Stone Soup Magazine
November/December 2006

Andreas Freund

The airport is packed. It’s so hot! I wish they had air-conditioning inside the Managua airport. Managua is the capital of Nicaragua. It’s nighttime. I can’t believe it can be this hot at night. I don’t want to know how hot it gets to be during the day. When the porter is taking our bags to the exit of the airport, I notice a stand with all these cool toys. I try to convince my dad to buy me a toy, but he refuses. Instead he gives me forty dollars, telling me that I have to spend it on something special. We walk out of the airport, when suddenly all these children come rushing to me and my family. We’re now surrounded by kids my age and younger trying to sell me gum. My mom tells me to follow her. I get into the car sadly. The image of all these kids trying to sell me items is stuck in my head. I try to picture me and my friends selling gum to people. I can’t.

Our hotel is nice. The people there are friendly. Our room is tiny, but we have a big window. My mom says Nicaragua has changed since she had been here last. I ask her how Nicaragua was when she was growing up. She tells me it’s too late and that I have to go to bed. But I can’t. How can I go to bed with the images of those kids? How can I? Just when I think I’ll never fall asleep, I do.

Piggy Bank selling flowers

On the way out I reach into my pocket to get my money. I give it to the boy selling flowers

The next day my mom wants to go to a restaurant she read about for lunch. My dad has to go to the lobby to rent a car. We meet him down in the lobby for breakfast, and then we go to the mall across the street to get some clothes for the hot weather. The mall has all the stores that are in the U.S. but it’s run down. I see a horsey ride that is missing its nose. The area around it is all messed up and dirty. It makes me want to leave. Later we get into the car that we rented and head for the restaurant that my mom wanted to go to. I can see the soldiers patrolling the streets.

We’re at a red light, when all of a sudden all these kids come rushing to our car. They offer to wash our windshields and try to sell us gum. The kids look sad. Some of the bigger boys sniff glue. I wonder why? My mom tells me that sniffing glue kills hunger and brain cells. I can’t believe that these kids have to work. It’s not fair. Kids like me have play dates, go to the movies and stuff like that, while these kids just try to get food on their tables. Why don’t I have to go and sell gum? I want to give these kids all they ever wanted, but I can’t. It makes me feel powerless. I want to give them my whole piggy bank.

We’re in the restaurant, but I can’t eat. The restaurant is adobe red. The food is good. People are eating gallo pinto. A guitar player comes to play us some mariachi music. Everyone is laughing and having fun, but I’m just playing with my food. My mom looks concerned. She knows what’s bothering me. My mom says that I can’t fix everything. I don’t want to believe her.

Piggy Bank piggy bank

Through the whole meal, I notice a kid outside of the restaurant trying to sell flowers. He’s short, about five years old, and has a hopeful and stubborn look on his face. No one is buying the flowers. Then I remember the forty dollars that my dad gave me so I could buy a souvenir.

My dad pays the check. After the waitress returns with my dad’s credit card, we thank her. On the way out I reach into my pocket to get my money I give it to the boy selling flowers. He offers me a flower, but I refuse. He joyfully walks away I smile, wishing I could do this to whomever I want. I tell my mom that I can fix some things.

Piggy Bank Andreas Freund

Andreas Freund, 11
San Francisco, California

Piggy Bank Zachary Meyer

Zachary Meyer
Shelby Township, Michigan

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