Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Nanay, Tatay, gusto ko tinapay...

...a game almost everybody knows how to play, but did anybody ever notice its message is as simple as it could get?

It’s probably what these girls utter as their stomachs scream in the morning with nothing to munch at all.

If they aren’t at school, they are home making charcoals—yes, the ones we use to grill our barbecues and pineapples for our outdoor Sunday lunch. They live right next to a landfill, and they inhale the smoke of the charcoal-making like it has become their oxygen.

Spending five consecutive days with them, I have to admit that my heart fell for every laugh these girls, Baby Marie and Larissa, shared with me as they welcomed me every day to their tarpaulin-covered home. On one of those days, I struck a conversation with the 12-year-old Baby Marie...
B: Ate, mayaman ka?
T: Huh? Hindi.
B: Bakit ganyan suot mo?
T: *in a striped shirt, shorts, sneakers and cap* Bakit? Simple lang naman ah.
B: May relo ka pa. Ang puti mo. Wala ako niyan. Ang itim ko pa.
T: Mas mayaman ka sakin, Baby Marie. Hindi yun sa suot or sa balat.

And she smiled at me. I knew she understood what I meant.

Gusto lang naman nila ng tinapay.