Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Banji's Family

This is Banji and her family. There are 5 children in all. They came to Manila from Mindanao, a southern island which is comprised mostly of Muslim people. Like many they came to Manila with the hope of jobs and the possibility of a better life. They live on the streets outside a slum on Roxas Blvd. I have had the pleasure to hang out with their family on a couple of occasions.

Banji works as a street sweeper and makes around 100 pesos a day, a little over 4 dollars. Her husband sells various items in the congested streets of Manila (see below). With a generous donation, I was able to give them an opportunity to start their own business and hopefully pull in 800 to 1,000 pesos a day so that they can someday rent an apartment and let their kids go to school.

Jamaica, their eldest daughter often missed school to sweep the streets and find other sources of income for the family. Banji is quite confident that with the stand in place Jamaica will be able to resume her studies full time.

This is her husband. He hustles drinks, snacks and other small items to people in cars. His days are spent cutting through the chaotic traffic, inhaling the exhaust from cars and trying his best to make an income for the family. He usually works from sun up to sun down, making, on a good day 150 pesos or around 5 dollars. I followed him for about ten minutes and got the hell out of there. Its a crazy job, but its a source of income.

The family is allowed inside of a local slum to wash their clothes, cook and shower. Other than that they remain on the streets finding ways to eat and places to sleep each day.

The stand is up and running thanks to a generous donation. We hustled in the market to get the most for our money. They sell the inside of chickens and pigs, not my favorite choice, but the guys who come and play bball each day beside the stand eat it up. Here we have the next Racheal Ray whipping up some magic on the grill.

The stand. Banji's children aren't present in this photo. She told me they were on vacation, but later explained to my friend that she had sent her kids away because another street kid got picked up by a car the other day and had his organs removed. Lets hope that wasn't true.

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