Stories

Something Wonderful: The Badjao





This morning, Leron and I visited a small community of Badjao people. They are often referred to as sea gypsies.  All of the people in that area are squatters.  Due to commercial shipping and other factors since WW2, they have settled on land. This particular community is in a Muslim area. We saw at least three different mosques. There was one little main street that would accommodate one-way traffic. Lots of trikes. Lots of people. even a pool hall and kids playing games in the little dirt alley ways.

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This particular area is one that I’ve seen as we traveled  to and from Samal Island. They are stilted houses. The Badjao people are living over the water. From the shore you can see both Samal and Tulikud Island. The kids were enjoying a swim (not the cleanest place to recreate, but alas, it is what they have)

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So, that means, no sophisticated plumbing and well, they live over floating sewage and trash. Planks of wood to walk on… some very slim passage ways. A maze of small humble dwellings.

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We met a pastor at the church. Loved hearing the history of his people… different languages, customs, clothing, and even physical attributes. Totally unique! We also checked out their school (no children as it is summer break here), observed some boat building, and toured the small part of town while our host followed up on a medical clinic.

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I am still processing my thoughts from the morning. Wow, such poverty!! I was a bit overwhelmed as I had to watch each step, making sure my feet landed on solid boards so that I did not fall through to the raw sewage and trash below. But in the midst of it, we were greeted by smiles… such gracious, kind, peace-loving  people.

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Such joy in the midst of such a harsh environment. I am always looking for the beauty — the wonderful — and here, I found it in the people’s faces. They loved to have their pictures taken, and I enjoyed playing peek-a-boo and just laughing with the children. Next time, I will be ready with my bubbles!

Originally posted at: http://christinelehman.blogspot.com/2013/04/the-badjao.html.