Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Voices 2: "The People behind the Voices"

Who are we? We are 90 adults who participated in this research: ages 18 years old above, single, married parents, and grand-parents. 

We live in 4 different Metro Manila communities.
1) Under the bridge and just above the estero. We have to be very creative and resourceful in building our rooms.  Without a degree, somehow we are architects. We know how to organize our little belongings in such a tiny place.
2) In a public cemetery, either inside the mausoleums (with the authorization of the owner) or make-shift structures on top of tombstones. We are not afraid of the ghosts. We don’t count any more the number of burials and tears we have witnessed.
3) Under another bridge, along another waterway, but with the same endurance and resilience as our friends from the first bridge.       
4) In a small upgraded informal settlers’ area. We don’t make both ends meet but some of us manage to live in a ‘formal housing’; tough, a minority.

In our last "Voices", we told you that we earn an average of P190/day. Some of us earn more than this while others earn less. Within our communities, we experience different levels of poverty. 
Most of us are self-employed,having informal work. We live near our source of livelihood and utilize whatever skills we have learned or experienced. A minority (around 15%) have contractual, casual or regular employment.

We know very well that we live in dangerous or inhospitable environments but we keep on residing there. Why? We always have to choose between “impossible choices”: Purchase materials for the school projects or buy food? Pay for the snacks of the children or buy medicine for my sick husband? Move to the relocation site to have a real 'house' or stay in Manila to keep the livelihood and scholarships? etc... 
Endless impossibilities. 

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