A Look Into Their Lives – Blog Summary from “The Philippines – The Slum Episode 2: Risky Business” – film by Paul Roy, Al Jaazera

Dear readers,

This is the second summary for the six-part film series, “The Slum”.

Residents of Tondo will do anything it takes to survive even if it means spending their days scavenging in a rubbish dump for whatever means they can find to sell. Ricky has been scavenging at the local rubbish dump in Sito Damayan Slum since he was a child.

Ricky’s fifteen-year-old son, Rachesh attends school and earns pocket money by burning off plastic on cables and selling the copper wire. He is fascinated with computers and spends his earnings for time-sessions on computers.

A raving fire breaks out and rips through the Sito Damayan slum and into Ricky’s home. The firemen who arrive are mostly volunteers from nearby slums. The devastation of the fire leaves three hundred families homeless and two children dead. Ricky’s family loses their home and most of their belongings. While his family are housed in a childcare center, Ricky guards their plot of land where their house once sat.

On the other side of Tondo, Freddie who owns a tyre-fitting business in a squatter’s village has received a demolition order. Now after thirty-two years, he and his family of eight will have to clear out and move. Freddie confesses that whenever he is alone, he weeps over their situation. “Lord, I leave it all to You,” are his words of prayer. When Freddie’s one month old granddaughter falls sick and requires an emergency operation, he sells his best tools and borrows money off friends to pay for the expenses. The operation goes well and Freddie pays a visit, overjoyed to see his granddaughter.

In Basceo slum, Chito dives into the murky Manila harbour waters for mussels and crabs to sell. When he returns home, he finds his fifteen-year-old daughter, Evelyn washing the dishes. Evelyn aspires to become an accountant and wants to support her three older brothers and her parents.