Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Just an Envelope: Streetchildren in the Metro

It is not uncommon to see children begging for money in jeepneys. Little kids covered in grime and dirt risked their safety by hopping in moving jeepneys to distribute envelopes. Then they would silently sit on the floor of the jeep waiting for the passengers to give them some coins. Afterwards, these children would collect their envelopes then hop out of the jeep. This is without minding the vehicles outside that can overrun or hit them. All for some coins!

kid begging on a jeep

Since I am a regular jeepney rider, I have often seen these kinds of kids. One of these jeepney rides struck me to the heart. A small kid hopped in and distributed envelopes. Then a slightly bigger kid hopped at the back portion of the jeep. After the small kid get some coins, I heard the big kid said "Akin yang mga sobre na yan!."

The little kid answered, "Hindi akin 'tong mga sobre. Sobre ko to eh."

The bigger kid looked at him angrily, "Lagot ka lang mamaya. Akin yang mga yan."

The little kid stuck to his guns, "Akin to. Sobre ko to. Bilangin mo pa."

Then the big kid stared threateningly at the small kid until they jumped out of the jeep.

For goodness's sake, it was just an envelope! A white paper that costs less than P1. But at the same time, I know that those envelopes is their life. These kids only have those thin crumpled white papers that costs less than P1 to their names. They have nothing except for those envelopes. I wonder how desperate these kids are to hold on to just an envelope. I wonder how irresponsible their parents are to ask their depend on just an envelope. I wonder how indifferent I have become to ignore a plea of help with "just an envelope'?

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