This short article was prompted by Mike’s comments about the 7M Filipinos not having a toilet. I just want to share an unforgettable childhood memory. Unforgettable because I nearly fell into a polluted creek similar to the one in the photo and all the shits that were floating on it.
So here goes: I was about 6 to 7 years old at the time. The location was somewhere in Cebu city, I don’t remember. One of Mum’s cousin had a money lending business in Cebu. Mum would use her as our baby sitter whenever the Yaya had the day off.
This particular day, she took me to a place similar to the photo to collect money owed to her. To this day, I don’t the hell know why she took me there. And in order to get to the borrower, we had to cross this narrow bridge with the polluted waters below. But in this instance, there were 2 kids defecating (OK, shitting for yous ol’ Aussie mates of mine), perched precariously on the edge of that bridge. Not wanting the kids or us to fall, we had to walk ever so s-l-o-w-l-y on the edge of the bridge. Guess what? We had to do the same on the way back because there were 2 more kids shitting on the edge of the bridge!
We survived that bridge (whew!). And cousin got her money plus interest…5/6 apparently. And I lived to tell the tale without getting dunked in that polluted creek. But even to this day, I see similar sights in Manila and Cebu. If it has not changed in 20 years, it never will!!Published in