Thanksgiving, A Perspective - Life for the Poorest of the poor

posted Nov 24, 2016, 9:19 PM by Tia Razon
Last week we went to the slums in Angono, Philippines, a small town of about 20,000 on behalf of our foundation. ( If you thought seeing it from a car was troubling, try seeing the inner slums up close..

In response to our request to see the poorest of the poor that we had been supporting, the social workers brought us to two areas that were in most need. We walked cautiously over a path of stones, focusing on each step directly before us, careful not to slip into the pools of dog and human waste. Nearby,  a mother and 3 year old son pumped water from an obviously contaminated well, while bare bottomed  and barefoot toddlers ran all over on the muddy ground. Families leisurely played bingo beside heaps of burning garbage. 

The shacks were made of remnants of corrugated steel, bamboo, plastic and anything else found in the garbage that could be reused as shelter from the elements. This was just a glimpse into the everyday lives of the poor that few people see.

The town captain, a compassionate man in his 60's, explained how sanitation is a big problem-- pointing to the sludge of open sewers on each side of us that were strewn with garbage, detritus, and both human and animal waste, slowly sliding its way under the stilted bamboo and plastic shacks they call home. (I don't have to tell you that these makeshift homes have no toilets or running clean water. )

We proceeded over temporary metal plank bridges, sagging under our weight as they pointed out the dried high water line marks when these homes were submerged during the last typhoon. In the distance, tall brown reeds lined the infested lake. Life prevails.

We were reminded that many of the young school age children could not go to free public schools because they could not afford shoes, uniforms and books. For those who could go to school, many went hungry. One boy told how he chewed on dried peppers to forget the hunger pangs. 

That those we spoke to showed deep compassion for the poorest in their community was not only touching but spoke volumes about the kindness of the neighbors in their community. They looked after each other. In their poverty, they remain positive and hopeful, even after generations of living in these conditions. Not knowing any other life is somewhat of a consolation.

The challenge of poverty seems insurmountable as this picture repeats itself every few miles throughout this country. It remains our commitment to assist in any small way these families who live their daily lives in  hunger and extreme poverty.

As we gather for the Holidays to enjoy our family and friends,and the abundance of our lives, we should give thanks for what we have and remember those who have so little.

 Please join us in our continued effort to make a difference in their lives.