Heidy, 3, was sitting alone playing with a stick and a stone, when we first came to visit her. She looked curiously at us, then ran to fetch her brother Alex, 6, who had just come home from school. There were no adults nearby. Heidy lives in a beautiful small village in Ecuador, 4000 meters above sea level. However, life is tough. Cold nights are followed by blazing hot sun all day which can be seen on her red cheeks.
The next time we visited, it was evening. We met Heidyâs grandmother, her step-grandmother, to be precise and her own three children.
Alone all day? Yes, so it is, says the grandmother. She sees no other solution. The family grow their own food. High in the Andes, it requires an indomitable courage. From morning to night the grandmother works in the fields. Children must take care of themselves. Thatâs the reality for many children in this area.