Monday, July 25, 2011

The real vagabonds

Three days ago, Chat's uncle who's a very close friend of mine was ambushed and killed here in Cebu. The gunman pumped 5 bullets into his chest and he died on the spot. I feel an enormous loss, I have no words to describe it. Yesterday, I was in such a stupor, I thought of running back to Dallas or anywhere just to get the hell out of here, when I had an unexpected visitor. See the boy hugging the ground on the left? That's Arnold.
The first time I met with them, I told them that they need to clean up the area where we're meeting. The next day, Arnold swept the whole area clean. He bragged that he cleaned it all by himself with the broom that one of the boys stole from the hardware store across the street. When I meet with them, we don't do much-- I bring whatever I can afford to feed them and we just hang out and talk. They tell me about their day and I tell them to go home to their parents and stop scavenging and stealing. Well, guess who listened and obeyed? Arnold. He showed up at my door last night with his 3 cousins and told me: "I went home like you told us, see, I am clean now." He told me that Jennifer, the only girl in the group also went home but her father shaved her head bald, so Jennifer is back on the street again. I went to find her today, but I was told she went hiding.

I stocked up on noodles and bought a thermos bottle to carry hot water. Jordan is getting so big now that I can't tell him what to do anymore. So I found a smaller one. I am training her and take her with me to see the boys and warn her that if she falls in love with a homeless boy and she moves in with him, she will be homeless too.
Here's my entourage ---the neighborhood strays. Joshua carries the food for the boys and Em-em to carry the queens chair. And Albert? well, he sees me and just follows without asking where I'm going because he equates my name with food.
Of course they love to come help me because they think it's just the coolest thing that I treat them to a side road eatery.

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