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Journey into Disaster
I proudly present chapter
11.01. Black day
The social worker Ma’am Solano has a clear word with some of the parents. Heger’s friend, Mik, in particular, is very angry about what he hears.
The guard suddenly stands in the canteen door: “Ma’am Solano wants to speak to you.”
A few minutes later, the mothers and Mik are sitting with Ma’am Solano at the table in the corner of the office.
After a short and cold greeting Ma’am Solano comes to matter: “Mr. Kabaltos, it seems you are very close to this German. Daily visit, go shopping for him and help him?”
“Yes, why, Ma’am?” Mik stutters. “I — no we all — have known Tommy for a long time and he’s my friend.”
Ma’am Solano nods barely noticeably to Rica and Lang. They have petrified expressions. “Perhaps you’d better take care of your son Philipp in the same way as you do for this German. That’s your eldest child! You’ve also taken on responsibility for Aboy — Romolo Junior Taslig. Is that your uncle’s son?”
“Aboy is the son of my wife’s uncle. And yes, I have a good relationship with the Taslig family and of course I take responsibility for Aboy. I take care of our children, ma’am. I’m here every day!” Mik gets angry: “Even when we weren’t allowed to visit the children, I got into your great Youth Home. I bribed your security guard with Marlboro, so I could see the boys! Now you know it!”
Rica remembers the day when she was not allowed to enter the Youth Home, her negative memory of the deceased daughter and the nervous breakdown. She begins to sob.
Ma’am Solano realizes the mistake in her conversation and tries to distract: “We are not talking about this security guard, Mr. Kabaltos. But, as I have learned, you do not do any regular work?”
“Nonsense, ma’am. In the village there is always something to do and then I worked in the plywood factory and as a trisikad driver.”
Ma’am Solano laughs loudly: “As a trisikad driver? How much do you earn with the translation of passengers in your city with this dangerous tricycles? How much do you earn a month? How many children do you have? Three or four? You are the sole breadwinner? How do you want to feed a family with this hunger wage? And currently? How do you earn the maintenance of your family today?”
“Fishing, ma’am! The Kabaltos family is very big and there are also wealthy and influential family members. There is always something to do and earn.
“And what about Aboy’s father?”
“This is an honest and experienced fisherman, like many others in the village.” Mik is annoyed by the arrogant social worker’s questions.
“The fact is, Mr. Kabaltos, that in contrast to the Restito and Barcella families, you and Aboy’s father don’t have a regular income. Somebody like the Heger comes to your village at the right time. He gives you cell phones, supports the children at school and flatters the fathers with drinking sprees, with a lot of alcohol for free!”
“Damn it! What do you want?”
“And in return you give your sons to this German! That is true!”
The mothers cry softly and blow their nose in their handkerchiefs from time to time.
“That’s not true! What are you talking about?” moans Mik.
“You wouldn’t be the first parents to experience this in the Philippines. Nice foreigner with money and so on. But the Philippine government has declared war on these people. And we, Mr. Kabaltos, we as one folk, as a closed community, must stand together in the fight against such crimes. The state and other organizations support the families of abused children. Morally and of course financially. Education in a private high school and study would also be possible.”
“Crime?” repeats Mik. “But ma’am, Tommy, he’s innocent! He didn’t do anything. He’s our friend and a nice guy and already supports our children at school.”
“That is exactly the point, Mr. Kabaltos, supporting our children is not the task of a tourist and pedophile who has come here. It is the task of the BSWD. That is a state task or the task of private or church aid organizations with a state accreditation.”
“A what? Tourist and pedo, what?”
“Yes, you understood me correctly, Mr. Kabaltos!”
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