Sketching from the Neck Up #5

Remember the Kids of Smokey Mountain


I found this photo journal blog by a gal named Sab (short for Sabrina – titled SMOKEY MOUNTAIN: A WALK THROUGH THE SLUMS OF MANILA, PHILIPPINES. Below  are her words. In the sketch I present is from 2 of Sab’s photos, a lone shack in the midst of a mountain  of trash and kid who struck me profoundly that I had to include him.

Smokey Mountain is a world you’d rather don’t want to see. In Manila’s largest dumpsite the poorest of the poor are making their livelihood by picking up garbage.

Smokey Mountain is a completely different world. It’s a gigantic 50-meter high mountain of garbage that consists more than 2 million tons of waste. It’s insane. If you get closer to the mountain you can see all the layers of rubbish: plastic bags, wood, metal, bottles, iron, fabrics, tires and more plastic bags. All squashed together. It’s heartbreaking.

The place is called Smokey Mountain because of the constant fire. They burn tires and wood. The air smells rotten and is heavily polluted. I have no doubts that breathing this air every day is poisonous for anyone. It’s hard to believe that over 25,000 people are living there. Families with kids. Every day people die here and babies are born.

The scavengers are all dirty, their faces are covered in mud, their clothes are worn out, their arms have scratches….

The living conditions are unbearable.

They live in simple shanties or shelters, some of them in huts made of wood, iron, plastic or whatever they can find to build walls.

One thing that really struck me was the fact that I barely saw old people. It’s a very young population.

And then I thought about the children I met at Smokey Mountain. They don’t have a future. But they laugh. They run around with their dirty faces and worn out clothes and they seem happy.

Seeing their joyful faces has changed my mind and enlightened me. Happiness has nothing, absolutely nothing to do with wealth. Humanity shines even brighter amidst poverty. These kids can bear more difficulties in life than we can ever imagine.


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Thank you.

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