If yesterday I had nothing to write about, today I want to write so many things at the same time. 😀
First off, on top of my head, was a TV episode on National Geographic about the Filipinos and their romance with basketball. An American sports journalist discovered the sport’s popularity and its importance to the daily lives of ordinary enthusiasts, most especially the poor. Like football to South Americans and Africans, the ball and the hoops offer not only entertainment but for some, hopes of financial rewards if they reached the big leagues.
I will not bore you with mechanics of the game itself since most of you know more about it than I do. What I feel I had to point out are the images of poverty in the background.
In a fire razed old building that formerly housed a big ballroom, a restaurant and bar and all other amenities found in a hotel, a large number of poor people populated the abandoned spaces inside. In a nutshell, they formed a distinct neighborhood as if they lived in a condominium, though obviously the affluence never existed.
Not to be deprived of entertainment while using their inborn ingenuity (we call street-smart ways), they converted the rooftop as their own basketball arena, a village square of sorts to while away the blues, expel extra energies or pass the time to forget that eating was a necessary part of living. It’s their way of life, their existence within a big city in the national capital probably ignored.
In the documentary, they smiled so generously, masking the harsh life they experienced daily. They looked vibrant and spirited, hiding their weakened state, the lack of sustenance evident in their lean physical built. They talked and expressed themselves animatedly, consciously denying their hopeless condition as obstacle to happy and contented living. They did not want the camera to record their constant fears of not making it the next day, only the bright side of their current state.
Look around us and mirror their condition to other parts of the world. They are luckier than those living in war zones, in virus-vulnerable and crime-torn localities. Yet, that seemingly good fortune does not free them from the consequences of society’s indifference.
They exist. We just let them be.