My sister told me to watch this video. Not in the mood to watch a video that time, I still watch it just to comply. Not expecting anything, I started watching the video. I'm glad my sister urged me to watch it.
Excerpt lines from the video:
"Actually, araw-araw ko naman silang nakikita... (Actually, I always see them everyday...)
Pero di ko lang sila napapansin... (But I failed to notice them..)
Dahil napakaordinaryo nila... (Because they have become so ordinary in my sight...)
Kala ko nga dati balewala lang sa kanila ang buhay maralita. (I also thought it's nothing for them to be poor.)
Dahil sanay na sila. (Because they have been used to it already.)
Hindi rin pala. (No. Not really.)
Ako pala ang nasanay sa kanilang kahirapan. (It is I who am used to their POVERTY.)"
Because of the video, I just want to share a story. It happens last year. I suddenly remembered this after I watched the video.
I remembered the time I went to Manila for my board exam review. One time my friends and I went out to unwind and relax. We went to the mall and played in an arcade, ate lunch in a resto, and bought several things. We also went to Luneta to stroll around and watch the dancing fountains until around 7:30 pm. By around 8 we decided to go back and we rode a Jeepney.
In the Jeepney, we were the only passenger. We seated at far end near the entrance. Eunice seated in the right area beside the entrance. I was in left and facing Eunice. Beside me is Mitch texting in her cellphone. So that is our seating arrangement.
Afterwards, the Jeepney stopped because of traffic. Then three boys entered the Jeepney. They look like around 9 to 13 years old. Dirt covered their body. Their feet were bare and don't wear any slippers. One of the children was holding something and he was sniffing in it. I know they don't have any money to pay for the fare but the driver didn't say anything. They sit beside Eunice.
Upon entering, Mitch's initial reaction was to hid her cellphone. I too, got scared because we were the only passengers there and they can do anything to us if they like. As I look Eunice, I know she was not comfortable sitting beside them too.
I know we were being judgmental at that time thinking that they are bad persons just because of their appearance, but we can't help it. We heard a lot of scary things that happens around Manila that even street children have something to do with it.
Can't endure any longer, Eunice decided to sit beside Mitch. The three children were left at the right wing and the three of us in the left wing. Still no other passengers.
Then, the children began talking to each other while the three of us remained silent. Their voice were so loud, so we can really hear what they are talking about. They were talking about wanting to beat someone. One of the boys said about him getting beaten by that person and he wants revenge. I heard something about territory. I can only conclude that they were involve in some sort of gang of street children. They were planning about the revenge and how they will do it with the help of others. One of the boys still sniff on the thing he is holding.
Horrified but what they are talking about, we kept our mouth shut. I pretended that I was busy looking the view from the Jeepney's window although I can't see anything remarkable. Inside, I was praying that at least more passenger will ride that Jeepney.
Not too long, passengers began entering the Jeepney. But I noticed that they all seated in our wing. It's so awkward. It was so obvious that they don't want to sit beaside the boys. It's almost full in our wing and in the other side, the three boys were the only people there. I dont' know but I feel pity towards the boys at that moment. But what can I do? Nothing. So, I remained silent.
After sometime, more people entered. The only vacant seats available obviously was on the right wing with the children. With no choice, they sat there but kept a huge gap between the boys.
Enters a couple. They didn't notice the three boys. They occupied the gap. They were happy chatting with each other until the girl noticed the boys beside her. She looked displeased with the sight and smell that she used her handkerchief to cover her nose. Then she whispered something to her companion. After that they went out of the jeepney. Everybody at the jeepney were silent.
The gap again was there. I felt a pang of guilt and pity with what happened. People treated them with some sort of disease that nobody wanted to be near them. I am ashamed of myself because I was one of those people.
One of the boys just joked about the incident and told the far end boy (the one that will people sit beside) that he smells horrible that was why they left. If ever they felt humiliated or embarrassed at that time, they hid it perfectly. They were just laughing and joking about the incident.
The ride goes on. Everybody was quiet except again for the boys who continued their chat. They talked about their experiences in the street. They talked about their revenge. They talk about many things. Then, one of the boys asked the other one if his mother know that he will go home late that day. The boy just shrugged and replied, "No, For sure she will beat me again. I don't want to go home today."
I was not scared of them anymore. I just pity them. I looked at their faces and became sad with some realizations.
A lot of questiong popped into my mind.
"Do they eat 3 times a day?"
"Have they ever went to a school?"
"Where are their parents?"
"What happens if they get sick?"
"How can they survive?"
They were so dirty that at first I was disgusted by their sight. But as I was looking at their faces and bodies full of dirt, I realized a lot of things.
I learned to appreciate things I failed to appreciate in the past. Like how blessed I am to have a clean water to take a bath everyday and clean water to drink. How blessed I am to have clean clothes to choose from. How blessed I am to have a loving family that always there for me. How blessed I am to go to school and finished my studies until college. How blessed I am to be able to eat more than three times a day.
I looked at the sandals I wear. Didn't appreciate a sandal before but as I look at the bare dirty feet of these children, I realized how blessed I am to even wear a sandal while the three of them don't even have the small luxury of slippers.
The Jeepney stopped. We were along Quiapo.
"That's ____ (don't remember the name)!" said by the boy near the entrance.
The other two looked out to see.
I looked also at the person they are talking about and saw a teenage boy, around 16 years old eating his dinner in a plastic bag.
"We can ask for his help about our plan." I heard the boy sniffing something said.
"Is it safe?" asked by the boy with a vacant seat beside him.
"Yes. I know him. Don't worry." answered by the boy sniffing.
"Let's go then." said by one of them.
Together they left the Jeepney and head towards the person they will seek for help.
As they leave, I ask myself if they are going to be alright. I wonder if they still have a future that waits ahead of them or they will end up in prison in the future. Is it too late? I hope it's not.