Child Soldiers: Homero

Homero was a suvivor. One morning in February 1997, he rose after ten hours of sleep and saw that all the cots were already empty in the cambuche, a theater-like platform raised above the jungle’s mushy ground to avoid floods and slithering animals. There were about sixteen cots, eight lined up on each side in dormitory style. Each had a wool blanket. Some were folded neatly, others had been quickly thrown on the ground. The rusty holes on the roof filtered mist and sun rays that dared peek through the trees.

The night Homero was abducted, he’d been exhausted from the jeep drive, then from all the walking, and from the grief of being removed from his mother. At the cambuche he fell asleep right away. On his second night away from home, Homero woke every few hours, chilled by his perspiration.

Now, at ground level, the camp was full of the day’s activities. Homero saw smoke from a cooking fire. He noticed about twenty people, all in camouflage. Alfredo, his abductor, was saying: “The chulos are near the side road. The one that leads here.” He rubbed his hands together as if he were cold.

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