The Children of the City

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As we were looking for a street child in Divisoria last August 01, 2012, we found these 2 children, April and Dodong, getting busy licking on the leftover seashells given to them by a lady from a streetside Carenderia. We then approached them to have a conversation with us, and they got very excited. On our way to the cemented benches behind Park Café, they told us if we can give them food to eat for they are very hungry. If you would try to imagine them with just their names and nicknames, you’ll probably get confused. Bernardo Rivera, also known as April, is a 15 year-old gay, while Dodong’s real name is Rolando Tenquirida, a 13 year-old girl. We told her not to joke with us but both of them insisted that it’s her real name. Along our conversation, we knew that they are cousins. April and Dodong both stopped schooling at Grade 3 and grade 4 respectively as the typhoon Sendong broke out. They sometimes join classes held at Xavier University during Wednesdays and Saturdays, and they are so proud that they have ates and kuyas in Xavier. After the Sendong tragedy, Dodong was lucky enough to have her family completely but as of April, it turned his father to be missing until now. Before the typhoon hit the city, they were living beneath the Carmen Bridge, and now, both their families are relocated at Lumbia Relocation Site. We asked them why they stayed on the streets while they have homes to stay in, they just said that they don’t feel and they can’t adapt to the new environment that they have there. They visit there but only for some time since the fare to Lumbia they said is 40 pesos, and even to hang on the top of the jeepney owes a payment. Whenever it rains, they said that to us, it may be a bad time but to them, it’s grace for they can already take their baths. Just like the other street children, they earn money through asking alms from passers-by and they buy it for food, and if there is change, they use it to surf the internet in an...
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