At the first feeding site today the children are three to four years old. It is right next to a dump in Quezon. This is the largest dump in Manila and it is secured with armed guards to keep prying eyes out. Powerful people do not want outsiders broadcasting this little secret. It’s not good for tourism. 10,000 people live on and around this dump. You wouldn’t guess the kids were living in a squatters village on a dumpsite from looking at them. They were all in school uniforms. Whether a student goes to public or private school they all wear uniforms in Manila. The kids looked healthy and happy. I got to play my guitar so Sr. MariVic and I taught them how to sing and do the actions to “Jesus is My Rock” and “This Little Light of Mine”. It was a big hit and the kids loved it. The children are very well mannered and they have this thing they do when they want a blessing from you. They take your hand and hold it to their own forehead. You can see one of the children doing that with Jerry.
After all the singing and prayers from Jerry the kids got to eat. And boy did they eat. The manna pack rice was served and there wasn’t any left on any kids plates. They also had meatballs made out of the soybeans that they took out of the Manna Pack Rice. It was about 10am and this was the first and probably the only meal the kids would get today.
After the feeding site we went to see the dump. But we weren’t allowed in the dump because it’s an embarrassment for powerful people. When I use the words powerful people, think of this as a substitute word for the________. But we got to do something else that was even better. An official said we could only take pictures of the outside of the dump. I’m looking at the shanties across the street and we are waved over to a doorway. I look into the doorway and can’t see a thing. It’s just black. We are lead through a dark, dank corridor on a muddy path with spaces of daylight now and then. We pass by an intersection with a couch and three men huddled around a piece of electronic equipment that they are tearing apart. They remind me of the little goblins in the Hobbit. We go another 150 feet following the path down hill and we come across another scene that looked like something from a pizza dream. There is a man crouched tearing apart little electronic pieces of garbage. He will take a hammer and smash a little plastic part and then put the pieces into a garbage bag. There are several woman gathered around just watching, like it’s some sort of a party. It was surreal. The pictures are actually brighter than we can see with our eyes.
We continue walking and turn the corner. The path twists and turns and eventually we walk right through the living room of one of the residents. She has a television and a huge stereo with lights flashing and music bumping along. Did I say it was surreal?
Eventually we get to a small yard with chickens and pigs. This is where we were allowed to take a picture of this tall grassy hillside that was about 50 feet high. Supposedly the dump was on the other side. I took the obligatory picture.
Once we get back to the car we decide that it is time for lunch so we go to a very popular fast food restaurant in Manila…McDonalds. After that we went to another feeding site in a shanty town.