Thursday, June 9, 2011

Homeschool x 15: The Cemetery

Hidden from the public by large walls and guarded by security officers at the only official entrance, this community has overtaken a cemetery and now calls it home. The only way into this place is through a house that doubles as a drug den and is very intimidating to enter to say the least. This place is unlike anything that I have ever experienced and after my first visit I vowed to come back and teach a class.

With no real outlets for the children, they mostly hang out and play on and around the graves. This is something that caught me off guard and was a very weird sight to get used to.

It's very hard to describe what it felt like wandering around this community. It's one of those occasions when pictures and words cannot accurately portray the feelings that ran through me. I've never been that on edge, all my senses heightened. It took a long time for me to become comfortable being in this community, but I thank them for allowing me to come, take photos and share it with everyone else. Yet another day in Manila that I went to bed being thankful for everything I have.

This guy just moved everything he owned into this grave, bought a lock and now its his home.

At first the people were very confused that a white dude was in there taking pictures, but once I cracked a couple of jokes and that I promised to come back and teach the children they seemed to open up and allowed me to photograph them doing their daily routines.

This guy runs the show. This is the closest I have ever seen a smile appear on his face. He was very intimidating and I really went out of my way trying not to piss him off.
My 2 goals the first time I visited this place were:
1. Get out alive
2. Get a picture of this guy

Father & Daughter

Class begins

I asked this guy to draw his name, he ripped off a head stone and called it his artwork.

Chaddy-Mack helping out

The class

Was a crazy dash for food. Tito Mel served a kid and he asked, what is this?
Spaghetti was Mel's reply.
The 9-year old told him he doesn't like spaghetti and he wants money instead of spaghetti so he can go and gamble.
The kid got a plate of spaghetti.

Look at the reaction of the kid on the upper left, that is how good the spaghetti was. Thanks Tita Yolee

The crew. Thanks to Mitch, Chaddy, Jerik, Paulo, Migs, Tito Mel, Tita Yolee, Jojo, Yo, Dino and Auggie. Could not have taught and fed 150 people without this crew.

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