I was traveling on a jeepney one evening when a man flagged the vehicle down, went to the driver and asked to drop a boy off in Sta. Cruz. After handing over a small change, he then signaled the kid to jump in. The kid — coming into sight with the jeepney’s very poor lighting — turns out to be a street kid. A common street urchin. A regular homeless youth. Soiled, tattered, barefoot, and with a shirt overextending to his knees. Manila is crawling with bums like this. And they — or at least most of them — are awful on the street. They’re ill-behaved, they beg, they shit anywhere. Worse, they rob people.
And so the little boy, after finding an empty spot, rested his behind. Oblivious with the other passengers who were all eyes on him. His air was arresting everybody’s attention. It’s not everyday a ragamuffin rides with people. Then, unexpectedly, the ragamuffin made the sign of the cross. Closed his eyes, and whispered a prayer. We were all blown away. Can you believe this guy, there’s a myriad of scarecrows out there and this one is simply filled with faith and optimism.
There’s still hope for mankind after all.
Incidentally, I have just finished my collection of shots from the coast of Sagñay in Camarines Sur which features some scenes of what kids — the more fortunate ones as against the ragamuffin — in this cool beach town is so preoccupied with at a given point in time:
Looking back at the ragamuffin boy makes these young people here seem well blessed. They have a more desirable environment, they have better things to do than beg or loiter on the streets and — top it all — even the stone-broke here has something for their feet.