In Chichicastenango, a Guatamalan city, a young boy maintains a vigil over the family grain in the marketplace. Clad in old and oily jeans, rugged sandals and a colorful Tshirt, he smiles blissfully.
"These children live in one-room shacks," says photographer Ward Bentley. "They are lucky to get one decent meal each day and most never learn to read."
This is one picture from a collection of 23 photographs focusing on young boys of Central America, on exhibit at the Ontario Theater. Bentley, during a recent trip there, would buy one of these children a square meal; occasionally one would invite him home to meet his family. In many cases, home meant a single room built out of chicken wire and mud or clapboard. Even though most were crowded with six kids or more to a room, Bentley says, they were better off than the street kids who supported themselves by petty thievery.
Other pictures shown in the exhibit are from a Guatamala City orphanage called Mi Casa. Started two years ago by an American, John Wetterer, Mi Casa houses and schools 123 destitute children ranging in age from five to 16. Proceeds from the sales of the exhibit are going to the orphanage.
NUESTROS NINOS DE CENTRO AMERICA -- Photographs by Ward Bentley, Fridays 7 to midnight, Saturdays and Sundays noon to midnight, through January at the Ontario Theater, 1700 Columbia Road NW.