Thursday, November 20, 2008

Encounters with the Less Fortunate

I regretted last year, not buying presents for my nieces and nephews because I opted to give money instead (which they can use to buy what they really want). Plus, I did just give birth so I wasn't in a shopping mood pre-Christmas. But like what I was saying, I regretted seeing their sad faces because all of the adults didn't buy presents and they had nothing to open after the Noche Buena feast.


So I braved Divisoria to shop. We sort of decided we'd actually just give picture frames as gifts to the close families in our lives and I also thought of buying some loot for the Christmas loot bags (so that it wouldn't contain just candy).

Anyway, as I was picking out sticker booklets, two boys also started browsing the rack with me. They asked the seller how much the booklets were worth and have even started counting out their money. But they hesitated a lot, argued about making a purchase, browsed again, counted money again. You get the picture.

I asked them if they liked any and they smiled and said YES. I told them to pick out what they like and they told me they really don't have money for it (when the other boy was counting, I saw he only had around P30-40) so I told them i'd pay for it. I told them to pick two each.

They pointed to the Highschool Musical stickers... and Hello Kitty. I thought it sweet, they wanted stickers for a sister or love interest (they looked about 7 years old to me, but could be older if you factor in poor nutrition). Then they told me they're gay.

They weren't flamboyant nor soft so I was mildly surprised. And then I couldn't help but wonder/worry for them... how it'd be like for them to grow up gay in a world of tough kids and men in the streets of Divisoria. Do their parents know? Are they supportive? Do they get abused for it? How will they help earn for their family... will they keep to selling wares? What about carrying/transporting the heavy goods around? Will they do that?

I really wish those two well.


On my jeepney ride home, two dirty boys boarded the jeep and the younger one started handing/throwing us envelopes, which basically asks for money. The younger boy's eyes were dilated, and he was acting weird so I wouldn't be surprised if he was high. (I personally don't give money and I feel strongly against enabling the poor to beg.)

As the two were getting off the jeep, after not getting lucky with any of the passengers, another (dirty) boy greeted them and taunted them and spat on the last to get off the jeep... spit landed on my shorts and hand, while other passengers got teenie drops as well.

As annoyed as I was, I couldn't also wait for my son to grow up so I can make him realize how lucky he is... because other boys become lost souls very early in life. Some don't even get to grow up to become men.

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