Not everyone on the street has a substance problem

A.M. Costa Rica/Andrew Rulseh Kasper Cyntia María prefers not to give a last name

For the past seven years Cyntia María has asked for change on the streets working mainly Calle 7, just north of Parque Morazán in San José. She is not homeless, hooked on drugs, or an alcoholic. She simply prefers to provide for her daughter, her 5-month old puppy, and herself by working as a person who asks for limosna or charity.

She sits down on the curb and waits for motorists to wave their hands or hold out change for her to collect and drop into her empty can. While she waits for a good line of cars to gather at the red light, she calls to them as if she knew them. Most smile back, and others reply to her friendly conversation. She is also a big flirt. It seems as though Fuerza Pública officers in their shiny white trucks are her favorite.

She usually works from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.

In an hour Tuesday she scored a banana, an apple, a Dos Pinos juice box, a cup of coffee the parking lot attendant nearby kindly provided her and a couple hundred colons. This was not nearly enough for her quota she had to meet for the day. She had a 6 p.m. deadline to make 30,000 colons to pay for a doctor’s appointment, she said.

She stuck to her money making plan. It is tax-free and all in cash. She doesn’t depend on a bank but rather the charity of the people in Costa Rica.

race, nationality, sex, and age he said. They accept everyone.

“We try to provide the basic needs for them like food,
bathroom, a clean place, and health care. We also have a space where we talk and listen to them,” said Triuveño.

Nevertheless, the subculture continues on the streets. There even are 8 year olds addicted to crack who have left home to spend time on the streets. Or perhaps they never really had a home in the first place. So social organizations try to help these youngsters.

And very few end up on the pavement. Survival on the streets has its own rules, and many of the homeless actually have rough dwellings deep in vacant lots where they live, venturing out only to find food, money and, of course, drugs and or alcohol. Or they might dash down to the local fountain to do laundry and take a bath.

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