The Kids Left Behind by the Boom, The New York Times

Guest Columnist

By Marie Arana

Henrry Ochochoque is a jovial 12-year-old with a report card full of A’s and hopes pointed straight to the moon. Last year, he moved from the squalid gold-mining town of La Rinconada, Peru — at nearly 17,000 feet above sea level, the highest human habitation in the world — to the bustling hive of Juliaca, roughly the size of Buffalo, where schools are better, a water spigot sits across the road and his widowed mother awaits a brighter future.

On a reporting trip last year, I’d heard his mother say she wanted to take the family down-mountain to safer ground. This year, I found them in a new home, not far from the shimmering waters of Lake Titicaca. For a child who once inhabited the ice and rock of an Andean promontory, with no clean water, no sanitation, in a mercury- and cyanide-laced mudhole riddled with whorehouses, raw sewage and AIDS, Henrry seemed to be on his way up.

But statistics tell us he is not. . . .

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