Hello! Anna here to update you on the second and third days of the latest Streetlight trip.
We spent yesterday at Benitez street, one of Kanlungan homes. The day involved a huge welcome, a LOT of heat, and some incredible hip hop dance moves from the Kanlungan children. (I was definitely out-danced by a six year old) There was a wonderful sense of joy that was totally contagious.
We’re currently having a drink stop after a lot of travelling around Manila. We started off having a super impressive breakfast in KSEM cafe. (And the best coffee in Manila of course) We then moved on to the Quirino community, where street families live near the rail track. Ate Sol was explaining to me that the families are currently being evicted. It was amazing to see so much energy from the children and some fantastic local teachers doing work with them.
Next stop: recover from the heat at Benitez and move on to the Open Day Centre. Wilma explained some of the situations the children are going through from the streets and we sang with the children. We then got a jeepney ride to Smoky Mountain- literally formed from a rubbish dump. Meeting the community felt like a real mix of emotions. In some ways it was quite beautiful; trees and wildlife are living on the top of the dump. And once you’re at the top, there’s an amazing view of the sea. But on the other hand it was heartbreaking to see extreme poverty in front of you. Ian was saying that these families could easily feel like giving up, but they’ve made a life and community for themselves. It would be so easy to feel like you’re suffering – but these families are fighters.
One of the most shocking things for me is seeing the children sleeping on the streets. I walk around Bethnal Green every day and am used to seeing homeless people all the time, but seeing a child in that environment would be truly shocking. This is why the work Streetlight are doing is so so important. They’re breaking the system and anything we can do to help is so valued here.