It was late afternoon when I was dragging my lazy self to the gym for my 4 times a week workout. The city streets as usual, were packed, noisy and dusty during that time of day. Public and private vehicles tried to get through congested streets as people rushed to get rides from its busy corners. Motorcycles were out of control, drivers tried to squeeze into the tiniest space between vehicles to get through the stream of traffic. A traffic enforcer was waving his hands left and right to control the rush-hour crowd. On the opposite side of the street near an overpass, sidewalk vendors didn’t care much about the scene; they were busy minding their customers. People from different walks of life tried to survive the afternoon, some complained about the endless traffic, some just wanted their commute routine to finish. Nothing new, the scenario has been like that everyday since the last 5 years. Frustrating!
Making sure I won’t get hit by a careless motorcycle driver, since most drivers don’t respect pedestrian lanes, I slowly crossed the street. I could feel the carbon monoxide in my lungs as a car passed by me, I coughed. Thankfully, I crossed the street alive, with the heavy traffic and crazy drivers everywhere, random accidents are possible.
At the sidewalk, next to a tree with drooping leaves, I noticed an undernourished boy about 11 or 12 years old, sleeping on his side. He wasn’t bothered with all that’s going on around him, perhaps because he was too tired or was sleeping his hunger off. His body was lying on a dirty, torn cardboard box, I wondered where he found his sleeping mat, could be in a dump. I sometimes noticed homeless kids as young as 7 or 8 years old near garbage dumps looking for useful trash that they can use or sell like plastics and water bottles. No pillow was protecting his head from the concrete or a blanket to cover his curled up body. An unwashed t-shirt and tattered jeans were his only protection while he was in deep sleep. Obviously, he didn’t have slippers or shoes to protect his weary feet as he managed to get through his every day life; I could see the soles of his feet dirty and swollen.
As I continued on my way, reality came to me. There was no such word as “choose” when we were born. We were born naked with nothing except for what our parents can hand to us, suffering and poverty to name a few.
Heritage has so many faces, and some of it are ugly.