The Youth Camp: entering a different sub-culture

It is located in the middle of the venue, a sprawling area full of multicoloured tents that offer free housing for about 30-40 thousand young people. Open showers and ecological plastic sanitation cabins dot the scene. Walking through one of the main thoroughfares that criss-crosses the main camping area here, one is struck by the line of vendors, also mostly young, sitting on both sides of the road, with trinkets, beads, feathers, masks, various kinds of amulets, all for sale, and all supposedly coming from the forests of Latin America. A group of (possibly) young men, for it was difficult to guess their age, were dressed in black, torn, unwashed clothes; one could hardly see their faces, hidden as they were by long, unkempt hair and dirty beards. They belong to a group called ?Galaktikos? and charged money for being photographed. Soccer lovers need not relate them to the ?galacticos? of a well-known Spanish soccer team! Some of the young look hardened by years of living on the margins of society; others seem to be ?freshers? from comfortable backgrounds having a try at being ?radical?; yet others were simply enjoying free boarding in a very crowded city. The framed face of Che Guevara was everywhere to be seen in the tents reserved for meetings and reflections, as well as old sepia-tinted photographs of the famous bombings of Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path), the famous Peruvian terrorist group. One sensed openness among the young, an unspoken affirmation of willingness to be different, of wanting to occupy a secluded and, in a sense, excluded space.