Along Howmart Road, you can see a family living in a shack joined to an unknown building's concrete enclosure. The head of the family is a tricycle driver, the wife unemployed and can be seen selling cigarettes or halo-halo now that summer has set in. They have nine kids including the unborn. The wife is pregnant again.
I have long been passing the road and I always see them especially the kids. There was this little boy who happened to be their son that caught my attention. He doesn't have anything to protect his body. He is nude roaming the streets, barefooted. I was sort of attracted to him, not that he is good looking but because despite the condition, he seemed to be a jolly boy, playful and unmindful of the situation. Papsie told me once that he is thankful I am not conceiving because our unborn child might resemble the looks of the boy (from an old myth) which to him is not cute as I always tell him.
I wonder how they live. Seeing the shanty, it can barely hold four people, to my calculation. They take a bath outside the shanty and also do the laundry there. I see the 'cute' boy, with mucus oozing in and out of his nose, eating whatever every morning. It can be a biscuit, a piece of bread, or junk foods. I wonder how he will be when he grows up. The oldest of the brood is already a tricycle driver. It was plain that they do not go to school. The boy next to the eldest roamed the streets and looks like a siga (a bully) (he was barefooted until he is in his teens). One of the boys is a canteen helper at the tricycle station. The only girl, which looks like twelve to thirteen years old, with disheveled hair, and untidy clothes, can also be seen along the streets.
It is hard to feel empathy to the parents of these physically and emotionally abused children. How can they be so selfish not thinking about the future and welfare of the kids? Is it ignorance? Is it nonchalance thinking that they can cope with anything hard life has to offer? I am not being judgmental here but they could have been more responsible. They could have borne fewer children, or better, only one child, or much better, not have children at all.
And here are capable parents who wanted to have kids or more kids but cannot have them anymore because of some health reasons or physical incapacity. They should be the ones having those many kids and yet they suffer unfortunate consequences of not having children or more children.
What a paradox.