I will never forget my last day working with these two boys. 
The sun was starting to set which meant soon enough their grandparents would be starting up the generator they keep on hand when it gets dark. The cicadas and their song would soon be drowned out by the grumbling of a gas guzzling machine that will supply them power in an area where most don't have any.  
The boys were creating a village out of a pile of sand and donated toys and I had put my camera down for the first time since I arrived at their home that week. We were laughing and despite the language barrier, communicating. 
It started getting dark, dark enough that it was time to go. One of the boys has hazel eyes just like my little brother's. He gave me a hug and a kiss on the cheek good bye and looked up at me with the same look and eyes that my brother makes when I leave to go back to college. And it broke my heart. I still haven't lost that feeling and I will never lose that feeling until I am able to go back and ensure these boys end up with the same opportunities any other kid has. 
So, here they are.  Meet brothers Coco and Bodi. They are nine and seven years old.
The two enjoy toys and sports and riding their bikes around their driveway. Just like any other kid. 
Except the toys were given to them by aid workers.
They play basketball on an old, rusty court and their driveway isn't a driveway.
It’s the parking lot for what used to be the Angel Maldonado School that was shut down 13 years ago.
Coco and Bodi and the rest of their family took over the school a day before Hurricane Maria struck the island. The family lives in the main building of the school.
They also live with Mery Gonzalez and Mildred Gonzalez Beltran who live in side buildings on the campus.
But the reason the boys still live in an abandoned school with their grandparents is because their home was destroyed by Hurricane Maria and they lost nearly everything.
Despite these hardships, the boys live a happy life and say they enjoy where they live and who they live with.
Coco dreams of being a police officer. Bodi loves cooking and gardening so he hopes to be a chef someday.
These boys have hopes and dreams they wish to fulfill one day. Just like any other kid. 
Back to Top