What do you say to the children, when you see them in the street, living under benches and selling flowers so they can eat.
What do you say to children, standing in the rain, because they have no home to go to, no shelter from the rain.
What do you say to children, begging on the street, hoping for a peso or two to buy something to eat.
What do you say to children, who eat glue to kill the pain, the pain felt by hunger inside their body each day.
What do you say to children, exploited by adults, raped, molested and sold like someone’s goats.
What do you say to children, who live out in the streets, children without dreams or hope for what the future brings?
What do you say to children, who want to be held and hugged, to have a home and parents, a place they feel loved.
Why is it you cry when you see them by the road.
Why do you avoid their eyes by looking too and fro.
Why is it you walk right by when outreached are there hands.
Why is it you wont buy them food if your money they can’t have.
Why is it you can’t take sometime to give a helping hand to show a child you care or to hold his tiny hand.
It is Manila where my heart drops and I feel the most helpless. The number of children living in the streets and graveyards are too numerous to count. You see them sleeping under benches on the sides of the street to shelter them from the rain, you see them in doorways of closed office building, in corners and alleys. You see them late in to the night selling necklaces made from Sampagita flowers. You see them walking down the street holding out their tiny hands, their eyes void of hope.
Yes, I understand that some of these children are being exploited by adults or even in some cases parents pushing them in to the streets to beg. I understand all of that. But that still does not discount the fact that these are children, children that you can not deny are hungry, helpless and can’t even afford a dream of a future.
The paste glue that most of us used in grade school for our art projects is a meal for most of these kids. For the money they are able to beg for, they can buy more glue than they can rice in this way they are able to stave off hunger longer. For most, the tattered cloths they ware and the tsinilas worn with holes to the soles are the only cloths these children own.
So why am I writing this? I don’t know; I sat down here in front of our computer, to look for a job on the internet at the time is was feeling down because I no longer have a job to support my family. And it occurred to me that I was lucky and so is my family to at least for now to have a roof over our heads and food in our stomachs and the knowing that I will find work, eventually.
I was remind that things could be worse for us but never as bad as things are in the Philippines and other places where poverty is; it reminded me of the children and I just started to write.
It started as a poem, like so many I’ve written before and mutated in to what you see now. So what can be done about the poverty and the homeless children in the Philippines? I honestly don’t know, I feel helpless and know that this problem is larger than any one person or group of people can attempt to solve.
In the past, when I had a decent employment, I paid for schooling of people I’ve never met in the Philippines; I’ve joined and sponsored children though organizations like Children International. I hope one day I will be able to do that again. As it stands right now my wife sponsors one young lady attending university in Bicol, I hope I will get a job soon so that too is not jeopardized, my wife’s job is our only income right now.
Please excuse my ranting.