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Polly and Bengt Ohman of Lake Clear, NY
February 24, 2003: A Home Visit

Center boys working on auto repair.

We board the Working Boys’ Center bus for a home visit. Blanca and her youngest son, Ishmael, are in the front seat. She is a new member of the Center with her four sons, aged 1-13. Her husband has died. Blanca was abandoned at age 7 and managed to work door-to-door. She was taken in by families who were good to her, and, as Padre says, maintained her dignity.

The bus snaked up the mountainside for a long while, and when we stopped it was to walk a treacherous path to her home—one room about 10 by 16 feet (this was bigger than the home we visited last year where seven lived). There are a single bed and a bunk sleeping five, two light bulbs, meager cooking facilities, and a tv! Blanca worries that a corner of her corrugated metal roof is collapsing. The roof leaks.

But there is hope for this family. Her children are cared for, trained and educated. She receives counseling, health training, and adult education. She and her family have access to medical and dental care here as well as three meals a day. She saves from the $60 a month she earns washing clothes by hand, and her sons save from their earnings as shoeshine boys.

Someday Blanca will build a new home and her sons will find work. After all, she’s found one of the most unique programs in this world—the Centro del Muchacho Trabajador—Una Familia de Familias.

Bengt and Polly Ohman

More information about about The Working Boys Center

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2003 North Country Public Radio, St. Lawrence University, Canton, New York 13617-1475