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drinking 'lift', an apple sodachildren outside cemetarythe children

The children approached us fearlessly while we drew in Merida, looking on curiously. They followed behind us in droves when we spilled off our bus into a local village. They gathered around to draw and pose for us both in Merida and at the Cordeleria. The children at the Cordeleria called Paul 'Santa Clause' in sugar-sweet voices, noting his sugar-white beard. They insisted on being our guides at Ek Balam. I loved watching them play at the beaches, running, giggling, falling, throwing, splashing. If only I had had unlimited resources, my camera would have snapped their images many more times.

It broke my heart when they greeted us with open hands, "Pesos", "Cancion?", "My friend, my friend", even outside a cemetary. One child gave out toilet paper and paper towels for tips in a bar rest room in Playa del Carmen. She would eventually fall asleep on grandma's lap or curl into a ball on the cold floor. Some sold us their goods; some sold us themselves. But whether or not their aims were monetary, they had me sold the second I saw their bright bold eyes of brown and hazel.

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boy at Cenote kids on beach kids playing