Manila Street Family

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Believe it or not, this family literally lives on the street. In Manila this is not uncommon. I first noticed this family during my second visit to this area in April. I have seen a few things that are just plain sad and others that are unbelievable. On the sad scale you can see from the images that the smaller kids are just running around in bare feet. The boy in blue wears only a tank top; no pants. The little girl has a damaged eye. On the unbelievable side I have seen even younger (about a year old) children sleeping on sheets of cardboard literally on the curb of the street as big, noisy busses whiz by only about 3 feet away.

One day I was walking to work and noticed a couple of the boys standing about 3 feet into the road where the traffic was. One of the big busses was right behind him as he played with his brother. Just then a motorcycle was honking to get through the 3-4 feet of space between the curb and the bus.

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This family will jump out on the busy street and hail a taxi for you. They will ask you for 5 pesos to do so.

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While it is truly sad to see this family living this way I found it beautiful that they generally seemed to be happy. You can see happiness in the faces. There is definitely a sense of “I’ll look after you” especially in the children. I’d say there was a little more stress on the faces of these children compared to those in the squatter villages.

 

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Here’s a shot of mom and dad and their two boys. I shot this on a Monday and then ran out and printed the best shots. On the following Monday I handed the mother an envelope of the printed pictures. She was so happy! She thanked me and flashed me a smile showing her one and only tooth. As she went out to the road to hail me a taxi I could see her clutching the envelope to her chest as if it was her most prized possession.

 

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