The child in the dirty dress who approached Sam and Andrea in Guatemala City was thin and wide-eyed.
“Please,” she begged in accented English. She extended a hand holding a primitive doll made of colorful yarn and sticks. Then, the other hand offered a card with writing.
The card read, “PLEASE HELP! I am a member of an indigenous tribe. Our people cannot work because US CORPORATIONS have taken away the jobs we had. By buying my crafts, you help me EAT and GO TO SCHOOL. Thank you and GOD BLESS YOU.”
Andrea looked at the scores of young, poor children and shook her head. “There are so many, how can we help them all?”
Sam shrugged. “We can’t help them all, but I’ve got a few small bills. We can help her, right?”
He knelt, handed the girl a few quetzals and took the doll. She smiled faintly and ran back to her mother, who was sitting under a tree across the plaza.
Later, they were sitting in chairs on the balcony of their hotel room watching the sunset. The doll was sitting on the table next to them. Sam glanced down at the street below and spotted the young girl from before.
“Hey—there she is!”
As he pointed, she stopped and looked up. She was wearing a Spongebob t-shirt and holding a can of Coke. She stared at Sam and Andrea blankly before running away.
Andrea shook her head, then picked up the doll. Turning it over, she noticed a sticker that read, “Made in China”.