On a recent trip to Barangay Palanog for a community service work, I passed by this street corner and saw a couple of grown men weaving a wicker chair and one similar folding bed. I figured they should still be around by the time I pass this way again on the way back home. Less than 2 hours later, they were still there, but they have magically transformed into little boys.
This boy is 11 years old. He and his 13 year old companion should be in school but they aren’t. Their weaving skills didn’t come from art classes in school and they won’t be earning extra points from their teachers. What they’ll be bringing home is money to put food on the table.
Residents of this village are mostly informal settlers who are vegetable farmers, construction workers, tricycle and jeepney drivers, and street vendors. Majority of the women are simple housewives who sometimes receive work as laundry women. There’s never enough to enjoy a comfortable life.
This folding bed takes about 2 hours to finish. By the speed at which these boys expertly weave the plastic strips across the aluminum frame, it is obvious that they have been doing this kind of work for quite some time already.
I would have loved to stay and chat with these boys, but not today. I will be back soon.
If you have a similar bed or a wicker chair needing repair, why not give these boys some work to do? They just might be able to afford to go to school with the extra income.