Unfortunately not in a good way. Saturdays we go for the busina at delpan in the morning and pasay in the afternoon. Delpan is the poorest neighbourhood we visit- there is always a really bad smell there and the children don’t have access to clean water so they cant take baths frequently(some times only once a week). The kids there while they are very cute and friendly are also the most rowdiest. This combined with the fact that 200-300 of them show up for the busina, always make it very hard to control them and it provides for a hectic morning! In fact a few weeks ago a little boy (maybe 9 years old) got into a fight with another little girl and by the time we managed to pull him off her he had already torn of part of her hair from her scalp! It was very very disturbing and upsetting. You can definitely tell that a lot of the children here are not very well cared of and are exposed to violence on a frequent basis. I was told that they have a very serious drug problem here (with some parents even doing drugs infront of their children). One of the volunteers once asked one of the teenage kids why they do drugs. The reply was heartbreaking- they said that with 2 pesos they can either buy bread or buy rugby (the name of the drug). Unfortunately after a few hours they are hungry again after eating the bread versus if they did the drug they don’t feel hungry for the rest of the day. Since they have no money and don’t want to feel hungry they usually opt for the drug instead. According to Sr. Jojo, Delpan has actually improved since when VIDES first started coming here 6 years ago. Apparently back then the busina consisted only of giving the kids baths and sending the children home with towels, soap etc.
This particular morning at Delpan it started as usual, but I noticed a little girl only a few years old. I remembered seeing her last week as well. She is one of those kids who you can tell does not get taken care of well. Her clothes were filthy and torn. The front of her shirt were soaked with saliva, mucus etc. Last week she had a really bad eye infection but luckily this week her eyes seemed a lot better. You could tell that she has no friends at all and is treated like an outcast. Another little boy suddenly smacked her as well! When that happened she didn’t even do anything and just sat there as though she was used to getting hit a lot. When Riza asked her if she was okay she only gave a small nod. I felt terrible and I tried talking and playing with her, asking her what name was but she would not tell me. After a while we realized that she just refuses to speak, though she does understand what people tell her. She did warm up to me though and when I was sitting down at one point she came and sat next to me and took my arm and placed it around her. You could tell that she liked the affection and attention because she usually doesn’t get it. Later on Helen even cleaned her face since it was so dirty. We tired asking a few people if they knew her name but nobody seemed to know. It was a very sad situation L and I cant stop thinking about her!
After the busina got over and before we packed up to leave while I was playing with kids (they kept jumping on top of me!), about one foot away a small child (maybe 2 years old) ended up falling down with one kid on top of him and hitting the back of his head on the cement ground. I went to pick him up and noticed that he had cut the back of his head. It started bleeding a lot. Luckily Sr. jojo knows first aid and had someone bring her an ice pack while I held the poor kid and Helen tried to wipe away the blood and his tears (he was crying so much! My shirt got covered in his tears, I felt so bad). I have to admit that the sight of blood makes me queasy. This combined with extremely hot and smelly environment made me start sweating profusely. After a while I started getting really dizzy and I thought I was going to faint. I didn’t want to make the situation worse (and faint and fall on top of the kid hurting him again) so I had Helen take over while I sat down. Sr. jojo sent me to the van to get some juice to drink, inside I found Riza- I think the heat and the blood had gotten to her too, she did not look to great either. I tried pushing the straw into the drink carton but my arms were shaking too much to do it. Luckily Riza was there to help me. I felt bad for Sr. Jojo not only did she have to deal with the hurt child but she had VIDES volunteers dropping like flies! Finally Helen and Sr. Jojo got back to the van and we left. The kid was taken home by his sister and they were given bandages to cover the cut. I was very glad to go back to DBS after that, we have a 2-3 hour break before we go to Pasay in the afternoon. Pasay is completely different from delpan. Vides has been coming there for 12 years so the area has improved the most. The kids are well behaved and are well taken care off despite the poverty. I absolutely love going to Pasay, the kids are so cute and funny and they get really excited when we do the dancing at the beginning of every busina. When we went there in the afternoon I noticed at the beginning that a girl was crying and had a small crowd of people around her. I assumed she had gotten into a fight with another kid. Later on I found out that she had nearly been kidnapped!!! Turns out while she was waiting for our van to show up a man on a bicycle grabbed her and tried to take her away, luckily she managed to fight her way out of his grasp and escape and run back to the church where we hold the busina! She was very very traumatized by what had happened. I could not believe it! I’m not sure what happened to the kidnapper, but I will find out and let you’ll know. Her dad ended up coming and taking her home. Im not sure if any police action will be taken or not.
Overall it was an eventful day! Please keep me and the kids in your prayers!