A metaphor, this title is not. Indeed, on the evening of the final (outdoor) show, a mere hour before the exhibition was due to open – and in the same minute that the participants arrived to see their mounted photographs – the skies gave way; Nature took a deep breath and blew over Mexico City a series of tornadoes, the first in all its written history. I hear you ponder, But why had no preparations been made for rain in a climate-dependant exhibition? I ask myself the same, often. The sun had beamed down on us for two weeks, and when the clouds began to gather on that fateful day, and I inquired with the museum into a Plan B in the likely case of rain, in all their unbreakable Mexican optismism, they simply rationalised that, “It won’t rain”.

Oh, but how it rained!

Panic stricken, I saved our precious photographs from the elements and tearfully announced to the expectant particpants that the show was off, for the museum had no space for us inside. Faces fell, indignant voices were raised, and I confess to you, faceless reader, I broke down.

Luckily for me, I had two best pals with heads tightly screwed to their shoulders to pick up the debris of the exhibition. Foamboards and frames were hauled inside and reconstructed in the childrens’ workshop, Claire Atri’s trained eye measured the layout and nailed the frames, Sophie James quickly went about documenting the scene, and thanks to her initiative, I have photographic evidence of the event. In its own adhoc way, our exhibition had its charm and drew in visitors from another event at the museum – and the show did go on…

Before the storm: me and my specially built outdoor mounting frames – the bane of my life for an intense two weeks.

Claire saves my day: last minute remount of exhibition indoors

The event saved and in full swing.

Triptych of the park they slept in by 12 year old Yadira and 13 year old Fabiola, mounted indoors.

That’s not all. This will be my last blog entry posted from Mexico and I write it far from the smog and cacophony of its City’s concrete horizons. My nine months amongst the young inhabitants of its bridges, sewers and plazas are up, and so I came to end my Mexico days in the warm climes and cactus deserts of San Luis Potosí. However, I would not be so remiss as to say goodbye without one last look into the lives and perceptions of those aforementioned young people.

In my last two weeks working with Casa Alianza Mexico, I was approached by a friend of Miguel Ángel’s, a gentle, smiling boy named Edwin. He’d been wondering about these cameras he’d seen his friend with, and inquired into whether he too could take some photographs. I was, of course, happy of a volunteer and after a quick chat about what he would like to photograph about life on the steet (drugs, money and food), the last camera was handed over. In the stretch of two weeks that he had that camera, Edwin helped me paint the foamboards and brought me jugs of juice from the office during those long, hot afternoons of monotonous painting in the playground. It was he and Miguel Ángel, my two trusty street vagabonds, who saw it through to the end with me. Miguel Ángel contributed extensively to this blog, disappearing for lengths of time but never straying far from his word. True to this form, they both arrived at 6pm sharp to the exhibition opening night, despite the rain and tornadoes. I was only sorry that I couldn’t deliver to them the recognition that they deserved. Still, this blog is here, they have the address and I know they regularly check it.

For the forseeable future of the Street Children Photography Project, London calls for a January exhibition, and I am positive that geographic and economic distances will surely attract the exposure and recognition that all the photographs (and photographers) deserve.

Gallery? Check. Tequila sponser? Check. Rain? Double check. As any seasoned Londoner knows, we are always, always prepared for that.

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Metro Hidalgo is the setting for much of Mexico City’s under-age prostitution (mostly gay). It is where Edwin and Miguel Ángel work and play, and where Casa Alianza is based.

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Sleeping grounds: Miguel Ángel in foreground, Edwin in back.

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The street outreach team often takes street children on day trips and excursions to distract them from drugs and get them interested in the wider world. This was taken on a trip to the zoo that Edwin joined.

The verb ‘to sniff glue’ in Mexican Spanish is ‘monearse’. Andrés, in this picture, is doing exactly that. Most street children are to be found like this from the moment of waking to when they sleep. It’s a full time occupation.

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Food at a street taco stand

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Edwin’s self-portrait

Change raised from begging and lying across glass shards…

And its rewards, in bottled, sticky inhalant form.

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