I asked Jojo to come up with a location that was very far off the beaten path, something similar to the cemetery class. He came back to me with this tenement building located around the Recto/Blummentritt area of Manila. The buildings residents are almost all current or former prostitutes and their families. Inside, the rooms are divided by thin sheets of plywood, the roofs are barely over 6 feet tall, and the hallways were so tight that they could only fit one person down them at a time. But the residents had the same warm, welcoming Filipino hospitality and many of them were eager to show me the places they call home.
Seeing the inside of the building and the confined spaces that the children had to live in each day, it was great to take the kids out of this environment and allow them to express themselves creatively. They made their own shirts and the class was followed up by a basketball game and some pizza.
Thanks to The Office of Culture and Design, Jojo and everyone else that helped out and open their homes to us.
The outside of the building.
Same day, on the way to the class, stuck in traffic in the middle of a down pour.
Poor drainage = a whole bunch of crazy things in the water, but it also means a swimming pool for the street kids of Manila.
The full scope of the building, little to no natural light is able to seep through the cracks and small windows.
The communal shower.
The laundry room. Deep inside the building where the humidity and heat were overwhelming.
The families let me into their rooms to photograph and show others the conditions they endured each day.
The hallways, naked kids running around, rats darting by your feet and of course cockroaches scurrying on the floors and walls.
One of the only sources of natural light in the entire building. In the middle of the building, there is absolutely no natural light, the air is stagnant and the space is uncomfortably confining.
Some of the women have open sari-sari stores inside the building and beneath it on street level. Many of the daily essentials can be found in these stores.
Rear of the building
The kids got right down to business.
This guy had his idea already sketched out even before we started...
and here is the finished result