What is it like to live as a Filipino orphan, in a very rich part of Mandaluyong City, Philippines? When the majority of the people is middle-class, wearing expensive clothing and driving in high-class vehicles, these orphans have very little to no luxurious items. Instead, they worry whether their next meal of a Mamon cake (seen above) will be enough to satisfy their hungry stomachs. Furthermore, these orphans wear the same shirts and pants every day. Socks are a major issue for them – too expensive to purchase, and thus, a hassle to wear. As a result, these Filipino orphans are often seen just wearing rugged and torn-up sandals. You might ask yourself, “What about shoes”? Shoes, just like socks or an adequate meal, are expensive items and only affordable by the middle-class.
With that in ours minds, we knew that we wanted to help these orphans as much as possible! We arrived at the DSWD (Department of Social Welfare and Development) Youth Village in Mandaluyong City, Philippines, to distribute our health-care kits and snack items.
We were not expecting to see so many orphans and economically disadvantaged children at the village. But, as the next photos illustrate, there were much more than we thought. The number of orphans at the Youth Village seen in both pictures totaled ~200 children, ranging from 5 to 15 years old.
All were clad in the same shirts, pants/shorts, and sandals. From afar, all you could hear was a jumbling mix of English and Tagalog conversations. It sounded like a discordant symphony. From walking past each aisle, however, their conversations were jubilant – no arguments or fights. Seeing so many orphans gathered in one spot was disheartening. The fact that we would, in the next hour, help them out by distributing some Filipino food and our healthcarekits, elevated my spirits. The looks on their faces were filled with excitement, amusement and wonder. While some were munching on a snack, others were drinking juice, awaiting for further instruction.
Here we are, setting up our station and removing all our items from our backpacks.
We pause for a moment and take a picture to celebrate today’s event, as we make a stride toward improving the health and welfare of these Filipino orphans and homeless children.
From glancing at the crowd, we wonder if we have enough items for all the children. To be continued