Friday, August 26, 2011

Strays (into my life)

"Stray cats and stray kids are soo 2011." This is what Chat said the other day after reading my blog about the kids. I wonder if she meant that by 2012 I would have killed all of them... or that they'd all kill me from stress. I never hide the fact that I am not maternally norturing like most mothers. In fact, I don't remember raising Chat. I woke up one day and found her raising me. "Mom, you don't tell kids 'behave or I'll kill you' Benadryl should be good enough."

If you followed my blog you'd know what I got into....God given assignment to these street kids. (I say God-given because I am not mother Theresa's relative, so on my own I would never choose to do this) Kids whose bodies have been damaged by the elements from living in the street day and night and brains diluted with the intoxicating effects of glue. Sniffing glue has become a lifestyle for them. When I get frustrated about my memory being gone,I don't dwell on it for so long now, I just have to look at these kids. I could never make them stick to a simple plan of meeting on a particular day or a specific time---they will never remember. They live in the moment and that's it. Planning for the next hour or the next day is so foreign to them, that in the 3 months that I've been meeting with them, I have yet to find them in the specified place we planned to meet the day before. I have to go round them up each time.Santino is the same way even after 3 weeks with me. He has no perception of days and time. Every morning I have to remind him of his simple task of bathing and keeping clean. He now has a morning job with my friend Tom, yet, after a week of being there, he'd still forget to go if I don't remind him. But he never forgets to go swimming, all day every day if I let him. Fortunately, my pool membership allows me to add him as my dependent even if he doesn't have my last name. Remember him? In the middle with empty glassy eyes...drunk from glue. To the right is Jack, his parents are both dead and he's been living in the street after a relative made him a workmule and the beating got to be too much. His eyes are now yellowish and am hoping he'd still be alive until I get back. Some friends brought us jackfruit and coconuts.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Grumpy is my last name

Cebu is not necessarily good for me. At least not for my writing. In Dallas, I live for my blog; almost everything I do and think of I want to share with readers of my's also my way of releasing pent-up thoughts. But here in Cebu, my thoughts are mostly negative so I would come out sounding like a grumpy old woman if I write about everything I feel. But let me go ahead and be grumpy anyway.

1. There's just too many people. Who can't stop having little people. I don't know how these people can have intimate moments to produce little people when there's no private rooms in their shack and there's at least 10 people in there already. You'd wonder why the rich, who has air-conditioned bedrooms suitable for making little people knows to stop after having 3 or 4? Is it because they have cable tv while the poor only has 3 blurry channels?

2. There's just too many people. And too many contraption with wheels to carry these people around. I can't walk the street without having to worry about being hit by a pedicab, motorbikes, jeepneys and cars--Which most of them could pass as a remnant from Hiroshima.

3. There's just too many people. And they burp proudly, smoke endlessly and spit unsparingly. Next time you're here, observe, and I challenge you to prove me wrong on this one.

4. This really is not my last complaint but I better stop anyway. There's just too many people with very few toilets---at least a working toilet. Not even in our so-called Cebu International Airport.

Ok, so you can say I have OCD and that I'm in the wrong city, mixing with the wrong circle. Well, I can only write what I know. I can't write about something I haven't experienced and really these are not isolated cases. In fact, the other day when I took my boy Santino to go swimming in this members-only pool, some man blew his nose, flicked it on the side of the pool then proceeded to spit.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Lobotomy for the pope or neuter the parents

Even before I liked kids, I already had the natural feeling of disgust towards these Filipino parents who has no sense to distinguish between a seminal fluid and a phlegm. Again, why the friggin Catholic airheads up there in Italy continues to feed nonsense to the non-thinking poor Filipinos. Birth control is a sin? And putting kids on the street and orphanages is not? And it's virtuous to watch all these phlegm heavy, rugby-sniffing kids on the street begging or stealing, making money for their parents?

I am not reaching out to these kids because I'm nice.....I'm not, I just could not ignore them anymore. And I'm angry. Angry at irresponsible parents. You see, I used to think that these street kids chose to live on the street because they hate discipline at home. God never designed kids as young as 5 years old to not want to be at home and be with a parent. I talked and interviewed all of them and the common denominator between them is lack of attention and food at home so when I told these kids to go home and not worry their parents wondering where they are, they looked at me like I'm an alien descended from crazyland. Their parents know where they are. Their parents doesn't care where they live as long as they come home to bring in the money. At least this is what I've found with the ones I'm working with. Here's Jennifer (in pink) and Asel (in green) they're siblings. I said in my previous blog that Jennifer went home and his father shaved her head and the next day she was back on the street and went into hiding. Hiding from me --not from her father, because she and her sister Asel are tasked to bring home the bacon. Last week they made 200 pesos and they told me they went home only to give the money to "mama to buy Bear Brand". Bear Brand is milk for the baby. Mama just had the 7th baby.
Above picture shows them sorting out the empty plastic water bottles to sell.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Just another day....

Today is Santino's birthday, exactly a week after I got him, we have a grand celebration of rice, mung bean soup, cake and french fries. Well, at least Santino thought it was grand. He understands that I even have to forego massages and trips because I now have 2 more mouths to feed besides Jordan. And Jordan is at this age now where the only thing he doesn't eat are the pots and pans. But God in His perfect wisdom knew when to bring me another child to take care of. Jordan is 16 years old and still a nice and gentle soul. He wakes up at 530 in the morning, cooks breakfast for all 3 of them, then he makes sure Santino bathe before he goes to school with Gerry Mae, the girl I took in 3 months ago. Now remember, I did not wake up one morning and decided this is what I wanted to do....adopt 2 more kids in my old age. Jordan, Santino, Gerry Mae and their friends.

When fun was over, Gerry Mae told Santino he needs to do the dishes. Gerry Mae is the youngest of the 3 but she bark orders at the 2 boys. She drives Santino crazy but he loves her and calls her "litter box" because she takes care of Winnie's litter box.

Jordan is the cook, the one who does the marketing and tutors Santino. Gerry Mae thinks she is smarter than the 2 of them so she calls them"dumb" and could not stand it when they don't pay attention to her. Now Winnie here, he could care less if you pay attention to him or not. As long as he is full, he is happy.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Why should we be in such desperate haste to succeed and in such desperate enterprises? If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different Drummer. Let him step to the Music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

I follow a different drummer alright.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Mark Anthony aka Santino

Today is the second day I have Santino. It felt good waking up knowing that he's no longer under the bridge, dirty and hungry. After we had breakfast, I asked him if he liked any sports and he casually said he liked tennis. "Oh yeah?" "Why do you like tennis?" "Because I won the Milo tournament". Unlike Jordan who never shuts up, Santino hardly speaks. And since I don't have any interest in tennis, it was the end of the conversation. I don't want him to go back to his old life of scavenging, begging and sniffing rugby, but I don't want him to forget his friends or where he came from so we went and brought the regular rounds of noodles. Except this time, Santino is no longer one of them, he is serving them.

After we did the rounds I asked him if he missed playing tennis. He said he sure would like to play again. Why couldn't the kid picked golf? Oh well, so I took him to the store to get him a racket and shoes and at the sports store some guy recognized him. He told me that Santino is a good player and won 4 tournaments out of 5. By golly, we're going to play. Or at least he is.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Chance or destiny

I'm taking a chance. Why not? Columbus did.
As you can see, I'm already broke. When I first got Jordan he had to wear my shorts and shirt until I got to the store to get him clothes. Now Santino's wearing Jordan's short and my shirt. Their first meal is congee, but I can sleep better now that I got Santino off the street. But I myself may have to be on the street to support these 3.

Here he was remember? Mark Anthony aka Santino.

Monday, August 08, 2011

Discipline or lack of it

Two things I strongly believe in when it comes to raising kids: discipline and discipline. Based on what I've observed here in the Philippines, there are only two kinds of parents; the ones who perpetually support their kids into adulthood and the ones who are churning out kids to make them into slaves; putting them in the street as young as 5 years old to beg or steal in order to support the parents. The other day, one of my childhood friend told me that he has to show up for work every day regardless that he's suffering from a bad kidney problem. Why? His 3 kids are still dependent on him. And how old are the kids? The youngest is 25 the oldest is 33. Which by the way, are all married. And you know what? his is not an isolated case. This is very common here in the Philippines.

Every human being is created in the image of God, that is a biblical fact. But mylanta, there's just too many of them creations here in the Philippines. Everywhere you go, the streets here are teeming with them. And that's because the priests keep preaching that the man's banana water is sacred and therefore should not be wasted. And these women can't have a whiff of their husbands sweat without them getting pregnant. Not to mention that we have plenty of men who can't discern--- just because it wiggles and has a hole, doesn't mean that it's a bin for sacred water.

I went to see the expo for local products the other day, and I was not surprised to see products showcasing the Filipinos varied talents. Filipinos will step up to the pulpit when given the right training, so why are some parents, if not most, not training their kids in the way that they should go? In America when kids misbehave you'd hear people say "beat them until the white meat shows". You can apply that to both kids and parents here. Yup, until the brown and yellow meat shows.