i was so full that i can hardly walk or even talk. i feel like vomiting everytime i tried to.we ate at the mall and i think it’s not so good eating every food my nephew and niece left. it gave me goosebumps imagining how much food i ate.
We left the mall at around 3 in the afternoon. It was so hot i feel my skin burn and my body sweat like hell at the same time. Good thing i was wearing a sleeveless shirt and flip-flops for my feet making it a little comfortable for me. Walking with my nephew, Raven, on my right side, he told me stories about who his classmates on kindergarten are. He is a bright kid. Though he can’t speak as good as an adult can, he do very well in Math. Maybe bacause he is used to having money and counting them everytime mastering addition, subtraction and even division. Or MAYBE bacause he is just smart like me. (haha.. nuts..)
While walking with my Tita and my Ate with her two kids, I saw from afar a group of children, dirty-looking street children. They really are literally dirty that you would not want them touching you. Thier hair uncombed, nails uncut and tips blackened with too much dirt, faces that looked uncleaned for days, clothes not laundered and feet without any slippers on them. As they got closer to us i noticed these people seemingly afraid of the “dirty kids”. There’s this woman shooing the little girl maybe 8 years of age and yelling at her “Ang baho mo!” But the pitiful child did not mind what the lady said. She still insisted and asked for atleast a peso. I heared her say “…piso lang po.”
Every word of her rushed on me. I gave my nephew to her mom and approached the little girl. It was good the other beggars were away from us. As i get nearer, her face brightened and ask me for just a penny. “Ate, piso long po.” She was wearing an old dress that looks like rag to me, but atleast she’s wearing slippers that does not match; the other half smaller than her feet and the other almost twice the size of an eight year old’s foot. Both slippers have holes on them. The little girl’s legs are wounded and scarred. Her arms are so untidy giving her the look of someone unbathed for months. Her eyes are searching mine like trying to read my mind. “Is she giving me money or what?” And then i found the words i wanted to ask. “Nasaan ang nanay mo?”
She hesitated and was still, looking straight to my eye, waiting for me to give her what she wanted. Giving up she said, “Bahay.”
I knew at once she’s not born here. Sauda told me she’s schooling on a public elementary near Wawa. “Sauda Sali?” I asked her again . She shook her head. “Badjao po.” She said briefly. Sauda admitted she can’t speak Tagalog that well, that her parents are unemployed and are at home. Something inside me burned. I can’t define but it’s definitely not brought by the heat of the sun. Anger.
“Ang mga batang yan… Hindi na nila alam ang maglaro.” Tita said as she approached us without my notice. “Ano kinakain nyo araw-araw?”
Sauda does not seem to understand, she stood still. “Piso po.” Sauda repeated. “Wala akong piso.” my aunt said. I found it cruel. She has the money but i saw her taking out a plastic with bread inside. It gave the girl’s face a smile. “Ayan. Bigyan mo yung mga kasama mo.”
After handling her the bread, Sauda ran to her friends.
I feel so lucky. Those pauper kids, so young yet know how to fight the life given to them. They beg not for fun, but to live. They wander on streets not to play but to work and these people so hoggish who would not give a single peso while thier pockets are full of bills. A peso won’t hurt.
Until now I can see her murky face on my head. Sauda and the other scavengers. I feel so sad for them though I know they see this as just a game of life they have to play. We are indeed lucky to have clean clothes, shoes, good education and parents who work for us.
We really don’t have to be afraid of them. Infact, we have to understand them. Like us, they are human not beasts. Giving them a peso won’t kill, but would give life. Don’t let their dirty faces annoy us, instead let their eyes make us realize what is inside them. Their unnoticed hunger.