So I have been letting my doña's grandkids play with my cell phones. I know I know, whatever. Other people here have cell phones and I let kids in the states play games, and I play games in front of them, so whatever.
Well, tonight I was letting the little girl in my house play Sudoku on my phone while the grandkids played the racing game on the other. She was sitting next to me playing. I was actually pretty excited she wanted to play the game that challenged the mind a little more.
Well my doña came over and asked her what she was doing. Asked whose phone she had. Said some things in Spanish I didn't understand and the girl gave me back my phone. She didn't even leave to go do any work or anything. There wasn't something else for her to do. I don't like it.
I didn't want to have the other kids playing while she watched. I felt like that would involve me too much in this weird form of slavery. I walked over and nicely asked for my phone. I told them we weren't playing any more. When the granddaughter asked why I said that if all of the children weren't allowed to play nobody was going to play.
I don't exactly know how to approach this situation culturally, because it is a cultural issue. It's not that she is necessarily mistreated, just treated differently. In American culture it's unfair and neglect is considered abuse, but most kids in campos here are "abused" by American standards in one way or another. She isn't allowed to play with the kids sometimes. Often she has work to do when other kids are playing. She is in some way paying her way for a house and food. If she were 16 would I feel differently? At what age would this not bother me? Is it because she's 9 and not 13? I'm not here to change the culture, but I sure hope at some point I can make at least one person think differently about this. And, I won't stop trying to educate her in her free time. We are going to read and talk about math and school and higher education and give this girl a dream of at lease getting out of this weird form of slavery.
In the end, there are just some things I'm not going to sit by and watch and seeing my stuff used as a pawn in something that promotes this differentiation is one of them.