Tuesday, April 12, 2005

hope in a pile of garbage

(Thank you to Joanne for lending me her pictures to post in my blog and providing the lyrics of Paraiso. She was recently in Smokey Mountain and sent these pictures to her friends.)

The pictures might seem down-trodden and probably makes one smell the stench of garbage without trying to imagine it but the smiles of the children bear witness that even in the direst of situations and in the ugliest of places, lie hope and happiness.

Amongst garbage, the daily pestering of flies, the worms, the constant worry of where to get the next meal, is the image of home for a child.

A popular song called Paraiso (Paradise) by the group Smokey Mountain which named itself after this godforsaken garbage dump in the city of Tondo in Metro Manila, captures the sentiments of such a child.

===
Paraiso

Return to a land called Paraiso
A place where a dying river ends
No birds there fly over Paraiso
No space allows them to endure
The smoke that screens the air
The grass that's never there
And if I could see a single bird, what a joy
I try to write some words and create a single song
To be heard by the rest of the world

I live in this land called Paraiso
In a house made of cardboard floors and walls
I learned to be free in Paraiso
Free to claim anything I see

Matching rags for my clothes
Plastic bags for the cold.
And if empty cans were all I have, what a joy
I never fight to take someone else's coins
And live with fear like the rest of the boys

Paraiso, help me make a stand
Paraiso, take me by the hand
Paraiso, make the world understand
That if I could see a single bird, what a joy
This tired and hungry land could expect
Some truth and hope and respect from the rest of the world

(Instrumental)

And if empty cans were all I have, what a joy
I never fight to take someone else's coins
And live with fear like the rest of the boys

Paraiso, help me make a stand
Paraiso, take me by the hand
Paraiso, make the world understand
That if I could see a single bird, what a joy
This tired and hungry land could expect
Some truth and hope and respect from the rest
Of the world...

Paraiso, help me make a stand
Paraiso, take me by the hand
Paraiso, make the world understand
That if I could see a single bird, what a joy
This tired and hungry land could expect
Some truth and hope and respect from the rest
Of the world...

2 comments:

tata said...

a couple of friends and i did a documentary about trash for envi sci a couple of semesters back. we literally followed the trash trail; starting from the time people threw trash into the bins 'til the trucks dumped the lot in payatas.

the conditions garbage pickers live in are wicked harsh. they don’t seem to mind, sure. but they should mind. and the government or whomever should take pains to better their situation.

p.a. said...

i'm sure they mind but at that precise moment, they probably have no other choice. i also did a documentary on the rizal landfill for environmental anthropology. i saw a mutated dog with a chicken claw-type growth from its paws. the people especially children in the surrounding area were prone to all kinds of illnesses.

the government can do better but it's also up to the people to better themselves. then, we are pitted with a chicken and egg question, which comes first - development or capacity building...etc?