Her Story: Iris


By Kindra J. Perea

Whether you’re on your routine walk to the market, to your favorite street food vendor or to that tortilleria that you know makes the best tortillas in town, do you ever find yourself passing by the same familiar faces on the street?

For instance, there is the old stooped man who stands on the corner selling small bags of fried munchies, candies and a handful of pens. How about the sometimes frantic and always speedy man who you can’t miss due to his gangly build and his ‘Halloween pumpkin face’ T-shirt. What about the young girl who pushes around her plastic crate full of bananas selling them door to door; occasionally you may catch her taking a nap on the sidewalk or even hunched over sobbing. This is her story.

Her name is Iris…like the flower. She just turned eleven years old in August and her favorite part of the day is when it rains. “Why is that your favorite part of the day?” I asked curiously looking down at her as she drew a picture on the back of some used paper I had. “Because I love the water,” she says shyly, but with a big grin.
Iris lives about a half hour away from Xela and takes the bus from home and back everyday to sell bananas. It seems to be their family business because a few of her sisters and mother sell bananas too.

Altogether she has five sisters. She is a bit jealous that two of them get to go to school while she has to work. She hopes that one of these days she can go to school too.

When she gets home, normally late at night, she likes to draw. “It’s my favorite thing to do,” she told me. “What else do you like?” I asked her. Her favorite animals are los chuchos, the doggies, she told me very surely and excitedly, with which she loves to play.

Her top 3 wishes, out of anything in the world, are: a doll, a pair of shoes, and some shirts. “Not a million dollars,” I asked her. She shook her head smiling and blushing.

The last thing I asked her is what most adults ask every child, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” “A teacher,” she said with glitter of hope in her eyes.

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