Bicutan, Paranaque City, Philippines
About 20 feet away from the railroad tracks, you’ll find Kathy Hayogis, the girl with a red shirt, who is 11 years old and the eldest among her siblings. She helps contribute to her family’s finances by selling vegetables every day in the hot sun. She has to be very careful because of the busy train tracks. On rainy days, her store area gets washed out, so she typically carries a basket and sells from a standing position. This shop is strategically located in front of the main entrance of a Philippine slum. Her mother works for a family in the country of Jordanand and earns much more than if she lived home with them. Money is sent back to the children through an aunt who lives nearby. Workers, who travel using the train tracks in their manual rail caddies, pass by the store on a daily basis increasing the potential for customers. Kathy has a good disposition and is happy that she is able to help her family. She says if you are nice to people and have good products, you can build a good business.
As you enter the neighborhood’s narrow alleyways, you find it teaming with activity and people. Noticeable are the kids who stay home during the day, many of which play and roam free under the watchful eye of a few of the adults that work within the slums alleyways. You’ll also notice several metal doors that are locked so that the kids stay safe inside while their parents work outside the home, but at least allow the kids to see what is happening outside.
As we wondered through, there were children gathered around a group of women in the market peeling garlic and telling stories. Pictured in the green shirt is Jackyln, 29, who has five kids. She formerly worked in Lebanon and is hoping to return to that country when she can get a better job. The ladies enjoy the fact they can work in the neighborhood and make about enough to pay for food for their family in a 4 hour shift. They say that a person should only do this work for a few years as your fingers become so cut up and damaged that they lose feeling. None of these ladies plan on doing this for more than a few years.
Continuing on you’ll find a young boy selling limes. He is talkative and vocal about why you should enjoy his fruit. He is quick with packaging the limes and collecting the money. When he is not selling, he is barking out to the crowd that he has fresh limes for sale.
Angie is a 15 year old girl peeling fruit under a canopy to protect herself from the storm that rumbled through the neighborhood. She works to earn money for her family and likes to listen to American Top 40 music. She listed songs and artists that any teenager in America would know. She wishes she could go to school and is anxious to leave the neighborhood for a better job. She is thankful that her family has kept her safe and that she will soon be old enough to go find work on her own.