It’s quite interesting how we could find calm in the most contradicting manner. I frequent this dump site in Tondo whenever the pangs of this shambolic being tend to get the best of me. It’s a place I feel at home at, despite the enormously desolate milieu that has become the embodiment of the area.
The dump is both a symbol of resiliency and despair. Everywhere you look, people are trying to make a living out of whatever is thrown there. Thousands of residents make a living out of scavenging for recyclables such as plastics and metals. At an area where charcoal is made, workers of all ages sweat it out all day in order to put food on the table at the day’s end. The seemingly eternal stream of smoke is awfully painful even just after five minutes of being engulfed by it. But they are immersed in it for hours and hours on a daily basis.
Despite the cloak of obvious bleakness surrounding the residents, sparks of conviction start to show once you get to talk to the residents. A lot of them have accepted the fact that they have not been blessed with the kind of life that most of us have. But day in and day out they break their bones working for so little instead of resorting to illegal means such as theft or drugs. All the hard work done with the motivating force of having an honest life along with the hopes of having a better tomorrow for them and their children. It may be such an ascending aspiration from their position, but it is something that is truly admirable.
At the end of the day, seeing the workers play a small game of volleyball was such a entrancing sight. For me it was a testament of how the human spirit could carry on despite everything else that is happening. The residents seemed to be happy and content, which made me start to think why I was not. All of a sudden, I found a certain calm by seeing how beautifully simple life could be. I haven’t gone to church for almost a year now because I can’t seem to find God and his goodness within the confides of the pretentious structure. Instead, I see and feel more of him whenever I am at such places which in totality, is a way better, more intimate manifestation of his grace than attending an unnecessary formality.