Kids in Ulingan...
charcoal ashes paints people's faces black and gray...
It was just yesterday when in my boredom and sadness i have written my sentiments.
Thank you Lord was all I could say now as I sigh…
Right now I just wanted to share with you all what had made me thank God for everything despite the failures and disappointments I have or we must all be experiencing one way or the other.
But, yes we are still considered blessed than the many others like them who do know what it’s like to live in extreme nothingness and poverty but still can manage up a smile.
Amidst the comfort and beauty around us lies just around the corner, the reality...POVERTY!
These are the people among the over 1,600 families who lives in the area called “Ulingan” in Tondo Manila. It is an area where residents live 24 hours a day of soot, fume and grime from the wood-burning (Charcoal) factory which are the residents only source of living. A place of about 6 hectares of land full of filth, fleas and flies located right beside the previous dumpsite called the “Smokey Mountain” (of garbage) where these families content themselves in their makeshift shacks or shanties that are made of old wood, tarpaulins, plastics, or anything that could be used to have something that can be called a “home” at least in its simplest form as long as they have a roof over their heads to protect them from light and rain, rather than sleeping around the open areas of the streets.
This is reality, this is Ulingan, Tondo, Home to the Poorest of the Urban Poor, the second largest in the National Capital Region of the Philippines. Families in their hard up situation and conditions but are still happy enjoying the meager things that they have, some food to feed themselves, few clothing and no slippers even most of the time for a cost of an ordinary slipper would already mean a 16 hour of work for their mothers or fathers, brother or sister who diligently work as hard as they can in either burning old woods that makes them charcoal, or packing these charcoals or “uling” (in tagalong language) in plastic packets or sacks, which are then to be sold at the local markets or wholesaler buyers. While kids do the task of collecting broken pieces of nails or screws left out of the burned woods which could also be sold to junk shops too.
An 8 hour work for charcoal packers earns about 100 pesos (approx. 2.20 USD) which are done, mostly by women and mothers and children who are residents of Ulingan Tondo. While the men works mostly as the wood burners that burns scrap woods into good charcoal and earns about 300 pesos (approx. 7.30 USD) a day. And these meager earnings means only a day to day survival not even meaning having a decent meal of three times a day, new clothes or shoes, a stroll at the mall… and a slight chance to have a better future for some perhaps who had managed to send their kids to school.
Seeing these pictures saddens me knowing what sadness really is and how Poverty exists in every corner of every nation and that includes Philippines, belonging to the third-world countries in the world.
I somehow thank Bob, a CouchSurfer Singaporean friend I met who opened my eyes with this, feeling . Glad i was able to meet Malaya Kids Ministries in-charge Pastor Nixon who briefed me and showed me around Ulingan that one "waking moment" of my life in March 2012. Hope to be able to serve this community to the best that i can, as i spread this sad issue and touch some families and friends who might be willing to help or donate even some used kids clothing, toys, shoes, and slippers that may be distributed to these happy and innocent children of Ulingan Tondo, Manila.
We all are luckier…those of us who can read thru this right now who have the access to a computer, a laptop or an ipad; people like us who are blessed to have tasted if not the grandest life but a better life rather than these Ulingan kids deprived of at least a good situation.
From now I will have something to look forward to…and wish I could be a part of something that has greater meaning of happiness. I have realized we could be able to save a boring life finding the strength in ourselves and being grateful to God knowing we are much in a better state to make LIFE worth living.