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 Japan
■Third Day in the Philippines (2012/04/04)

Hello, I am Itsuki Kanno, a Spring 2012 Yujo-no-Reporter.

It is my third day in the Philippines.  As I learn the life and culture here, my stay is becoming more and more fun!

Today we first visited the public school that participated in the “One-Peso Campaign”.  I met the school principal first and then went to say hello to the students.  I was told that a graduation ceremony had taken place on the day, and I found more than 1,000 students at the hall.  I was surprised to learn that there are over 7,000 students in this school.  I gave a thank-you speech in front of the 1,000 students.  I was very happy that I received a favorable response from them.

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Students waved to show up the singing!

After my speech a boy and two girls sang songs on the stage on behalf of the school.  They were all really good!  The boy held my hand and sang a song, played the guitar for another song, and sang two more songs as an encore.  My heart beat fast when he looked into my eyes when he was singing.  Hiroki too looked very nervous when a girl held his hand and sang.  He was cute!

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After visiting the school, we went to see the dump site in Patayas.  As soon as we got out of our car near the site, I noticed the distinctive smell.  When we stood right in front of the site, the smell of a mixture of a tremendous amount of garbage was so strongly permeating the area that it lingered in my nose for a while.
The old site has been closed.  Collected garbage is now sorted, and gas and part of the garbage is recycled into energy.  Above the dump site was a place called MRF, where garbage carried in by trucks is sorted.  Lots of people gathered there to look for things that might be turned into cash.  They rummaged in garbage and took what they found to junk shops for cash.  I didn’t see any children there.  Only those registered can work there since a child who was going through garbage was run over by a garbage truck and died in the past.  In 2000, a number of residents and children got killed when a mountain of unprocessed garbage collapsed over houses at the foot of the mountain.  Some children had to end their lives in the garbage.  I couldn’t hold back my tears when I thought about them.

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No one stopped picking garbage when a truck was running very close to them.

We were visiting Carla and Jovel’s houses in Patayas after coming back from the dump site, but we went into a fast-food restaurant for lunch before that.  I felt anxious when I saw Carla and Jovel eating.  They would eat the food that fell on the floor or use a fallen spoon with a mere wipe.  My heart really hurt when I saw them doing without hesitation something we don’t see done in Japan.

We first visited Carla’s house after lunch.
When Carla took us in her neighborhood and gestured toward her house, I stood frozen.  Honestly, I thought “Is this a house?”  I still feel guilty about having hesitated before going into the house.  Because Carla didn’t seem very enthusiastic about getting interviewed, her mother, in her place, answered our questions and showed us around the house.  The toilet was shared with neighbors, and a well located within a couple of minutes’ walk from the house was used as a shower.  The kitchen was outside, where Carla’s brother sleeps. 

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Interviewing Carla though she didn’t seem to be interested…

Carla’s dream is to work as a make-up specialist.  She enjoys hide-and-seek with her friends and siblings.  She is a girl, just like you and me.

After the interview, KnK’s staff members asked me some questions, one of which was “Is there a difference between Carla and you as humans?”  I could not answer.  Actually I didn’t know how to answer the question.  I might have felt a difference somewhere in my mind between her and me as I visited and interviewed her.  I felt terrible.  I found myself lacking lots of things, something very crucial and necessary in meeting with these children.  I will find what it is in the rest of my visit.
I will continue to try hard tomorrow.


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