Living in the Suburbs

In a 3rd world country like the Philippines, poverty is rampant to the point that everyone literally says that they belong to the base of society’s pyramid, that they are the less fortunate, that they are afflicted, that they are being raped by the most influential, the most powerful and the most rich in the land. Everyone claims that. Even that person seated on a nice comfortable couch has this line. Honestly, That is my script. Or should I say “was”. After I visited my mum the other day, since it was part of my plan during my summer vacation, I was brought to an eye opening fact. And this truth made me realize how jaw dropping the life of these people living in the suburban.

In the morning, we woke up around 7. Since everybody sleeps altogether in the living room, which is also the dining room or sometimes the kitchen, and even everybody’s closet, all are obliged to wake up as early as that first person who decides to get up from the not-so-comfortable comforter which is shared by us, my mom, her husband, her husband’s sister-in-law, her husband’s niece, and another niece, then me. Yes, all six of us slept in that multipurpose room which by the way is approximately 3m by 3m in total area.

Aside from the size and the looks of the place, another thing that I noticed which made me feel guilty of complaining a lot is the meal that was served for us. For breakfast, we were given some slices of bread and a mixture of coffee and milk formula. In the afternoon for lunch, we were served with some fish fried with too much oil. And for the dinner we were given some chicken which were bought in the dirty market already cooked which cost them 2 cents (in US dollars). I was alarmed by this, having in mind that I am with two toddlers who need nutritious meals.

As we were spending the day together, I felt sad for these people. Their only past time is to sleep, stare to the almost wearing television, play with the only toy in the house and eat. So basically, everything is a routine. Wake up. Eat. Watch tv. Take a bath. Play the toy. Eat lunch. Sleep. Wake up. Watch tv. Eat. Play. Go to the neighbor. Go back to house. Eat. Watch tv. Sleep. The thing that will only break this routine is the irregular job of the adults which could include the children, since they can’t be left by themselves in the house.

Reflecting to this, I realized that I have no right to complain about what is happening to me or what is not. Before, I thought that I am missing so much in this life. I have a heart for adventure, like mountaineering, traveling, spelunking and surf boarding, diving into some different culture. I love all these, but I’ve done not even twenty percent of them, and I hated that. But now that I experienced a day with these simple yet cool and funny people, I hate the fact that I hated and complained so much.

Sometimes, we are so much stressed out thinking about the things we haven’t yet done or experienced. We even make plans on how and when to do them. We are giggling in the thought of them -traveling, obtaining gadgets or cars or luxurious houses, partying all night long for three straight days. All of these are not bad in themselves (except for the last one). We should never stop dreaming. It is our right to enjoy life as we know it. It is our right to dream for ourselves. However, perhaps it would be nicer if we will also start dreaming for others.

How about making the homeless smile? How about giving the unfortunate some healthy meal? Or some nice clothes? How about visiting the orphanage? I believe that there is something we can do. Only if we will be willing. How about start doing something today?

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