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Journey into Disaster
I proudly present chapter
7.01. The story from Sendong City
Kagawad (Mayor) from the village tells Tommy a story about a little boy and Tommy also tells a story.
Tommy: “It is funny that the children mention this story from Sendong City in the interview.” I think out loud, shake my head and get more precise: “I mean the story when they surprisingly knocked on my door a few days ago. They were totally soaked and dirty.”
Kagawad: “Which boys visited you?”
“It was Sam, Jan, Phil, Aboy and Morris.”
“Oh, that five,” replies Kagawad. “With the exception of Morris, everyone is now in the BSWD children’s home. Lucky for Morris that he didn’t travel with you.”
“Five children is the upper limit. I wouldn’t travel with more.”
“Morris lives with Tabita. She is his foster-mother. She probably can’t give birth to babies of her own. Morris’s mother is somewhere in Manila. The father is also not interested.”
“Yes, Tabita. I didn’t meet her in the village, so I couldn’t ask if Morris could travel with me. When I visited the Barcellas, Dan looked at me with such sad eyes that I took him. At first I just wanted only Jan as a companion. Dan’s big brother. They are the sons of Lang and Matthew, you know.”
“Tabita is out and about in Sendong City all day trying to sell fish. Sometimes she is away from home for six or seven hours just to earn about 150 Piso.”
“150 Piso? These are not three Euro!” I throw in incredulously and shake my head at it.
“Morris is always roaming around. Mostly in the village. He eats with uncles, aunts or neighbors, goes swimming all day and often lacks school. Nobody cares really about the little guy.”
“Maybe his missing daddy is the reason I couldn’t get rid of the little boy while I was living in Frank’s house last year. I gave Morris a shirt because he kept walking around with the same holey dirty part. I never saw him with slippers. He got a pair of blue Islander flip-flops. Kagawad, he was very happy! After that he would always crouch in front of the house and never take his eyes off me. Then I sometimes invited him for dinner. One more of them is not noticeable. I think he was always hungry. My God, how skinny and small he is for his age. I also gave him 20 Piso from time to time.”
Kagawad lights the next one. I’m taking a break.
He comes back to the report: “And what did the boys say in their interview? Something about fun?”
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Poor but carefree!