Day 4 – (pt. 2) Tondo Slums

We took a 5 min bus ride to a bridge. Surprisingly the kids on the bus actually live under the bridge.

River
You couldn’t see through this water at all because of the amount of pollution and garbage 
underthebridge
People made make-shift homes right under and beside the bridge
underthebridge2
This is the front entrance of one of the homes. You literally have to crawl in to enter
underthebridge3
15 families live under this part of the bridge. Again you’d need to crawl in just to get to your home.
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The next place we visited was called “Happyland”
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The main livelihood of people in this region is garbage collection
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Residents sort through garbage to try to salvage anything that can be sold or has value
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Plastic and cardboard can be collected and sold to be recycled
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Others turn discarded wood into coal to sell. This one family sold baby chicks whose feathers were dyed different colours.
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In addition to scrounging for recyclable items, people also search for discarded food that can be washed and recooked
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It was a lifestyle that we never imagined even existed
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So many different emotions were running through our minds, aching our hearts, and calling our souls.
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This is the type of life that the kids from St. Martin de Porres live in.
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The average daily income from recycling is 100-125 pesos. That’s around $3 a day.

 

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We were careful where we stepped but what was shocking was that many of the people – children included walked barefoot through these streets
A - Dark
It was overwhelming to see everything we were seeing because it wasn’t something we were watching on TV or seeing on the internet. This was real.
C - Clinic
Unfortunately due to lack of funding and government assistance, this clinic is rarely opened.
B - School
This is a one room schoolhouse
D - Internt
The community could access the internet using these coin fed terminals. Many even added us on facebook 🙂
E - Slipper
We took time to play with the kids
F - Elastic
They showed us this game where you need to pull down the elastic with both feet
G Bball.jpg
We even had a Happyland, Philippines vs. Toronto, Canada basketball game. Final score: Philippines 7, Canada 6.
Happy Land sign
Now we know why it’s called Happyland
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The people here, especially the children know the most important things in life. Despite their hardships, the residents have a very positive and happy outlook
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We gave the kids some candy and small toys before we boarded the bus.

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We had an amazing day and experienced a whole gamut of emotions from happiness playing with the kids at St. Martin de Porres, to sadness leaving them behind knowing that we would probably never seem them again, to joy while playing with the kids and giving them all hi-fives, to depression see the living conditions in the surround areas, to motivation as we become awareness of poverty outside of our normal lives, and desire to help and give back.

When someone has been given much, much will be required in return; and when someone has been entrusted with much even more will be required.- Luke 12:48

Now that we know what poverty exists beyond what we normally see, we can never ignore those less fortunate than ourselves.

Thank you for following our travels. Please write a comment below and share with us how you felt when you looked at these photos.

72 thoughts on “Day 4 – (pt. 2) Tondo Slums

  1. After seeing what I say today it’s so easy for me to now know that I take so many things in life for granted. When walking through the slums it was hard to breathe and to see that people have to live in that everyday is hard. Yet they go through life with a smile on their faces. To know that being on this trip will help families like that is amazing. I know it’s not a lot however we are making a small different in the lives of families that live like that. It’s hard to see and sad too see. It’s not safe but its all that they have. I know that when I get home I’m going to take my mom for everything that I have because I now know what the other side lives like and it’s not fair.

    1. This hard work has inspired me to think deeply about the privileges i have. All of us appreciate everyone’s hard work there in the Philippines. Keep at it

    2. Truly inspired by the work that you put in over your break, wish that we had more people willing to help to make our world a better place

  2. After today, it almost feels unfair to be as privileged as I am. The experience was definitely an eye opener to what’s out there outside of my life in Toronto. I can’t help but to think back to how easy it truly is for me to access something as simple as water in my own home, but for them that’s often the least of their worries as they have other priorities… These are priorities focusing on self health and ensuring that basic necessities can be provided. It’s difficult to enter in the slums of the Philippines knowing how much I have, but it’s a good reminder of all I need to be thankful for. With so little, the individuals there are still able to find complete happiness, and that’s one of the main teachings I hope to understand and gain by the end of the trip.

    1. Looking at all these pictures really opened my eyes to what poverty actually looks like, to see all the garbage and all the pollution that they have there really makes me feel fortunate and to definitely not take things for granted. To see all the children remaining positive in such conditions really teaches me that happiness comes from love, friends and just being with family. To all the student leaders who went, that is absolutely amazing to see that you guys are taking action! Great job

  3. I am overwhelmed by the amount of poverty that plagues this area of the Philippines. I can’t believe that so many people live in those conditions, with crippling poverty, yet they are still happy and positive. It definitely teaches us a lesson on how we should not take what we have for granted, and that we should be grateful for all that we have. This post was definitely an eye opener to the immense poverty that exists in the area. I hope everyone is safe, happy and healthy on the trip, and I encourage them all to keep up the good work in the Philippines!! 🙂

    1. It is insane to see the extent of the poverty there and it is even more insane to think about all the people across the Philippines and the world that must live in these conditions. What I noticed was that though they must live in these conditions they are all smiling. It is truly humbling to think they can still smile in those conditions while we sometimes think our lives are so hard when we have so much privilege. You guys are doing amazing, keep up the good work!

    2. My first impression of seeing these photos are how sad it is, for the families and community, its sad how much poverty that country has, Although it is amazing how happy all the children look in these photos, its amazing how optimistic they are. The feelings i have towards these pictures are for myself i feel grateful for what my community looks like and how much of wake up call it is for me to see that is how some people really live, i have compassion for the children and community so they grow from this and that they will soon be able to have a stronger future and a stronger/cleaner community.
      I hope you all have a fun and safe trip home, as well as an amazing/healthy/safe experience there in the Philippines 🙂

  4. After looking at these pictures I realize how bad the conditions in poorer countries really are. I can’t even imagine how hard it would be to live there. But it is really heart warming to see the people living there still smiling despite the disadvantages in life they face. I would tell the student leaders to keep it up and continue to bring smiles to the people living there.

  5. Seeing these pictures is just insane, it is hard to imagine that this is the living conditions they have to live in. I feel so privileged knowing that my life could be much worse, I also feel so inspired knowing although they live in such harsh conditions they are still so happy. To the students on the leadership retreat I am so glad there are people like you in the world who are willing to give up so much of their own time to help others.

  6. Wow! Congratulations to all those taking part in this amazing experience. You all are changing lives across the globe! The pictures from Happyland really touched me because I could never have imagined their living conditions. To remain happy in such a polluted and poor environment must have been truly inspiring to witness. Keep up the incredible work!!

  7. Good Job Guys, Proud to see Redmond students helping out. I felt a sense of amazement with sorrow to see how rough it is working in a different part of the world. Keep it up

  8. This was very eye opening, even from the seat of my computer. It really makes me appreciate how much I have. Not only does it make me appreciate what I have, I makes me appreciate the opportunities given to me. It makes me feel happy that the kids from Canada came to help those less fortunate. I also feel pretty happy knowing that those so less fortunate are happy and positive, it shows you don’t need material things to be happy.

    Shouts out to Seph, Alex, and Wendell!!!
    Congrats to all those overseas, y’all the real MVP’S
    Cant wait to see y’all back at school

  9. After looking at these pictures it truly made me realize how bad the conditions can be in less fortunate countries around the world. I can’t even imagine having to live in these conditions, yet there are millions of people who have to face that everyday. Yet despite all that, the residents still smile and have a positive outlook on life. It amazes me, and proves that human willpower can conquer anything negative. I would tell the student leaders to keep up the good work and continue to bring smiles to the people of the Philippines.

  10. I can’t believe that i’m here complaining that my break is over when there are children out there who will never get one. Their lives are a constant struggle and they have to live with hardships everyday. It’s motivating to see them smiling in the photos, because I sure wouldn’t be. Seeing all that garbage and the living conditions that these families are living in is eye opening and truly makes me even more grateful for what I have. The town may look like its covered in garbage and worthless but deep down its golden. The children’s attitudes are inspirational and priceless. I don’t know if I would be able to make it out there in the Philippines but the student leaders are setting a great example to everyone else here in Canada. Keep up the positive work and the spread of cheer!

  11. Looking at all these pictures really opened my eyes to what poverty actually looks like, to see all the garbage and all the pollution that they have there really makes me feel fortunate and to definitely not take things for granted. To see all the children remaining positive in such conditions really teaches me that happiness comes from love, friends and just being with family. To all the student leaders who went, that is absolutely amazing to see that you guys are taking action! Great job

  12. While I was looking through the photo’s that were taken, I had realized how lucky I was to be living in Canada. Before I saw these photos and said that i was going to happyland I would of thought of an amusement park but in reality it looks like a back ally where people are just trying to get by. I would be horrified to live there because have be surrounded with ally these amazing things I would take for granted but, the kids there are so happy to live there. i believe with enough time that the Philippine’s will become as great as Canada.

  13. It is insane to see the conditions that the people there must live in and what they must do to survive. It is crazy to think about how many people live in these conditions across the Philippines and the world. It makes me feel so grateful for where I live and almost guilty because I have so much I don’t use while they have so little that they must use every bit of for survival. I hope everyone is everyone is happy and safe and that they know what their doing is great and not something anyone can do. Keep up the good work!

  14. After looking at these pictures it truly made me realize how bad the conditions can be in less fortunate countries around the world. I can’t even imagine having to live in these conditions, yet there are millions of people who have to face that everyday. Yet despite all that, the residents still smile and have a positive outlook on life. It amazes me, and proves that human willpower can conquer even the worst living conditions. I would tell the student leaders to keep up the good work and continue to bring smiles to the people of the Philippines.

  15. These pictures are very shocking and eyeopening. I never imagined people would be living in these conditions. These people are living in such poverty, but the children still look very happy and positive. This warms my heart and made me realize how privileged I truly am, and a reminder to be thankful for all I have. I can never really say I “need” something to make me happy anymore, because these pictures captured the people in the Philippines looking very happy and they have next to nothing. I hope everyone has an amazing experience! Stay safe and healthy!!

  16. It is insane to see the extent of the poverty there and it is even more insane to think about all the people across the Philippines and the world that must live in these conditions. What I noticed was that though they must live in these conditions they are all smiling. It is truly humbling to think they can still smile in those conditions while we sometimes think our lives are so hard when we have so much privilege. You guys are doing amazing, keep up the good work!

  17. I cannot believe the conditions of poverty that these people live in every day–it’s so beyond my world and my area of comprehension. It really makes you realize how privileged we are to live in Canada, and always have food on the table and access to health care.
    Unfortunately, situations like these are far too common in our world, and it’s important to do everything we can to help those in need. On your service trip to the Philippines, all of you truly are making a first-hand impact to fighting poverty. I applaud you all for your courage and genorosity.

  18. When I looked through the photos all I could say to myself was “wow” for so many reasons. It is so sad and shocking to see what some people go through and I can’t even imagine seeing it first hand like my peers did. Although I felt sad and surprised, I was also smiling because you guys were able to make them so happy and give them hope and love. I am also overwhelmed by the severity of their living conditions and extremely difficult life, however it is amazing how happy they still are despite their hardships. They keep a positive attitude and are thankful for what they have. I know they appreciated it very much and it is amazing what you guys all did. These pictures make me realize how fortunate I am to live in Canada, in my home with my family, and be able to go to school and have access to whatever, whenever. I hope you guys have a happy and safe rest of your trip and keep your heads up high because it is truly amazing and inspiring what you are doing!

  19. Viewing these pictures really showed me how fortunate i am to be living in Canada. When i saw the pictures of “Happyland” all the garbage in the streets and polluted water it really put my complaints about where i live into perspective. Looking back this is something i regret missing out on and should have participated in, it would have been life changing to help these people form better lives in any way possible. All i can do is encourage leadership students to keep up the hard work they are doing for these people, your changing lives for the better.

  20. The idea that people are forced to live in such terrible conditions is awful, to know what people have to do to survive is depressing. It’s heartwarming to know that they’re able to keep an outlook on life in such poor conditions. Although it’d disturbing to compare the living conditions in Toronto to that of Tondo and Happyland, the fact that people walk bare foot through the streets there when in Toronto we wouldn’t dare to walk without shoes is horrifying, when the threat of broken glass and various diseases is much larger there.
    To you guys in the Philippines, good on you for going, hope you’re happy and healthy, and keep up the good work!

  21. I’ve been to the Philippines and I’ve seen the poverty first hand. Since we live in a first world country we don’t get to see the world wide poverty we are told of so often. Up until last February, I hadn’t given it much of a thought. Saying this now however puts me in a difficult position as I have to live everyday knowing I’m so fortunate whilst others around the world are suffering. I’m happy to know that students in my community are helping these people around the world with their daily struggle in regards to poverty. I hope everyone is safe and are healthy, and I encourage them to continue their work 🙂

  22. I feel deeply touched. Those students are willing to contribute their love and kindness to people who they don’t know. They had a long journey but are still enthusiastic to play with the children. I hope everyone has a safe trip and happy experience, keep up the good work!

  23. While going through these photos I was extremely shocked by the amount of poverty in this country. But at the same time i was glad to see that these students gave up their own winter Break to improve the lives of other people while giving back to these communities. It allows them, and us to be grateful for what we have. These photos gave us an insight to what happens around the world and learn about how other people live. I think that it is awesome for people to be doing this work!!!!!!!!!!

  24. All the pictures can see that children are very poor and the garbage are all on the ground. I think they fell happy after students come. I want them don’t be sad any more. because all the world will coming to help them.

  25. while going through these photos i am overwhelmed to see the amount of poverty and i relize how much is different compared to here in Toronto, and that we should not take the things we have for grandted. However it is a good feeling knowing that people are taking the time to go and help others in need. I hope everyone is having fun and enjoying their time in the Philippines!

  26. My first impression of seeing these photos are how sad it is, for the families and community, its sad how much poverty that country has, Although it is amazing how happy all the children look in these photos, its amazing how optimistic they are. The feelings i have towards these pictures are for myself i feel grateful for what my community looks like and how much of wake up call it is for me to see that is how some people really live, i have compassion for the children and community so they grow from this and that they will soon be able to have a stronger future and a stronger/cleaner community.
    I hope you all have a fun and safe trip home, as well as an amazing/healthy/safe experience there in the Philippines 🙂

  27. My first thoughts and impressions looking at these photos are that I cannot believe what is happening here and that no one is being notified of it in Canada. It surprises me to see the amount of garbage and poverty here and I feel as if we take advantage of our own environment and how fortunate we are. I am all around concerned for the children living there and I am impressed about how happy they seem to be living there in such conditions. Seeing these living conditions makes me feel grateful for what I have here in Canada. I hope everyone is having a wonderful, fun, and safe time in the Philippines!

  28. I have realized that i am privileged to live in Toronto. To see these pictures has really made me appreciate what i have and to not take it for granted.Here people worry about getting the new iPhone while there its a day to day struggle to live. Its amazing that you give up time to help others keep at it guys!

  29. It’s nice to see happiness can be found no matter where you are, or how bad your living conditions are, and makes me appreciate everything i have.

  30. I am appalled by the pictures. They are very eye-opening and makes me realize how lucky I am to live in Canada. I feel sad for the children, and the things they have to do makes me pity them. Good job student leaders, you’re making an impact on these children by making them feel cared for. I’m sure they appreciate the work you do.

  31. wow so much garbage and poverty. it makes me feel sad because i never thought of the luck we have for leaving in much better conditions. make sure you make the world better and keep up the good work leaders;)

  32. It’s shocking to see the amount of pollution in the river, the conditions that these people are living in are incredibly disheartening. However, it’s inspiring to see smiles on the children’s faces and see that they still get to enjoy their childhood despite their living conditions. Keep up the good work and stay safe!

  33. My first impression of Happyland was that although most of the children are in a worse place than we are, they are generally happier and look like they have more fun all together. They were willing to play basketball and show you their games while children here wouldn’t do most of that. Keep up the good work and stay safe!

  34. I was shocked that while the children in these pictures live in such extreme poverty, they manage to stay positive and are so pleased throughout these photos. They truly make the best of a horrible situation. It makes me sad that these children have to live in such deplorable conditions. I hope you do your best to help out in the Philippines, and stay safe!

  35. It was shocking to see all the poverty. I didn’t realize how good we have it here and the amount of garbage that was in the water. what they call ” happland” is just a pile of garbage to pick through to find food to clean then eat or trash they can sell to make an income.

  36. My first thought was disbelief that people in some countries are living with such poor and unclean living conditions. In Canada, we speak of the poverty and how lucky we are, but it is usually difficult to imagine and understand how grateful we should be for the type of life that we are living. It’s sad to see how the people live in such polluted environments with such little healthcare to make sure that they are living a healthy life. I wish all the student leaders a safe trip, and I really admire the work and charity they are putting in. Good job guys! 🙂

  37. While reading and looking at the pictures, I couldn’t believe the conditions that they live in, especially compared to what we have here. It’s hard to see. I realized how many things I take for granted everyday. It’s amazing to see that even in their situation, they are still able to have a positive attitude. I feel sadness looking at their living conditions, but happiness knowing that people, like those on this trip, are taking an initiative to go and help them. I encourage those on the trip to keep up the great work.

  38. It is truly mind opening to see the conditions of the people in the Philippines. You never really focus on it on a day to day basis, but reading this blog post and seeing these pictures allowed me to feel so grateful for every little thing I have. Us Canadians should be so thankful and grateful for all that we have and all the opportunities we have. People complain everyday about the littlest things but some people have it so much worse. It really allows you to put things into perspective. I wish I could have gone on the Philippines trip myself, but for the people who are there, you are doing a wonderful thing helping people who really need it. I hope you all enjoy the rest of your time there 🙂

  39. Having been born in the Philippines and spending about the first half of my life there, I am already aware of the terrible situation that these people live in. Despite this, it is still shocking to see these pictures. I think that it is great that these people can find happiness within one another. I hope that you are all having a great time! Thank you guys for being such great leaders and helping to make a change in these people’s lives (:

  40. Looking at all of the photos of the awful living conditions of the people in this area of the Philippines, I feel so sad and overwhelmed that people actually live like this every day while I live in a healthy, clean home in Canada. I realize that I often take for granted all of the simple resources that I am privileged with in my own life every day, such as a safe home, clean water, and a healthy environment. It is honestly so terrible to see this, and it motivates me to seek opportunities to help out in any way that I can to help the people from similar communities to gain the living conditions that they deserve. It is truly wonderful and inspiring that so many students, many of them my own friends, made the decision to go on such a humbling journey and selflessly give their time and effort to help those who are less privileged than us. One other thing that is amazing to me is that, despite these awful living conditions, the people in the community still seem so happy for what they have– something that we could all learn from. I hope that everyone has a wonderful time on the trip! Continue with your amazing work; you are truly following in the footsteps of Jesus! ❤ 🙂

  41. The first impression is that, the bus ride place to place, are surprising very close to each other. The feeling and emotions, I felt while scrolling through pictures, and reading each comment, is the struggle of every filipino, and what they have to face on a day to day life. Words of encouragements, “Leave Philippines with footprints on yours and their hearts.”

  42. It’s incredibly eye opening to see the difference between Toronto and Happyland. The way they live their lives is so different from ours that it is almost impossible to imagine that life style. What we have in Canada is something none of us should take for granted, especially after seeing these photos and reading about their lifestyle. We in Canada are so privileged and it may be hard to recognize because it is often the only thing we know. Something as simple and shoes is a luxury for them but we would take it as almost nothing.
    Student Leaders,
    The work you are doing in the Philippines is truly inspiring and outstanding! I hope you are all safe and doing well.

  43. My first thoughts of these photos was wow. These families work so hard, and put in a lot of effort to make very little money. I was shocked that some people search through garbage just to make ends meet. While looking at these pictures, I felt really sad for all of these people and feel so privileged to live in Canada. Student leaders, you should feel proud of yourself and the work that you are doing in the Philippines.

  44. I am sad and surprised to see that children and people around the world live in environments like Happy land and don’t have the appropriate necessities or materials. For example the kids in Happy land walk around bare foot and people in more developed countries have countless pairs of shoes. We also tend to waste clean water. The materials and resources that we have in Canada are misused and not appreciated. As Canadians we should not take these resources and materials for granted and we should be more grateful. My overall feeling about these pictures are just heartbreaking and sad. To all the leaders there: keep up the awesome work and thank you.

  45. I really cannot explain the slums. The smell, the streets, their homes, the stacks of garbage, etc. It all just came together into this overwhelming feeling of hopelessness and frustration in me. Even though I am here in the Philippines to do service work, Happyland just feels like such an enormous project to take on. Our tour guide explained to us that the people in Happyland are unable to go anywhere else because Happyland is where easy money is -going through the river and piles of garbage for materials to sell- and when they try to relocate, it is a struggle to find any job that can support their families. Life in Canada is truly a privilege but what I want people to know is that there are people out in the world who live in our garbage; people who scavenge through our waste for a living but manage to find the courage to smile, laugh, and remain faithful despite extreme hardship. These people deserve and have been waiting for our help.

  46. Today was such an eye opening experience. Although we are constantly reminded of global issues, we can understand the depths of it through hands-on experiences. During my time at the Tondo slums, I interacted with the locals and regardless of the current state of their community, they still greeted us with pride. This spoke volumes because, their happiness wasn’t a result of materialistic possessions, whereas in North America it is often the case. The tour enabled me to further appreciate my own personal possessions, which lead me to a deeper understanding of what actually holds importance in life. I also enjoyed playing short games with the kids, and minutes into discussion, I realized that they weren’t too different, from myself and the kids back home.

  47. These pics really shock me. I cannot image plenty of people live in such terrible circumstance. This let me think of the villages in China, the situations are similar. The whole family live in a tiny place. In opposite, children’s smiling are pure enough. From their smiling, I can’t find any grumble for living here. They have fun with their friends during the day time.If one day I live in that kind of place, I must complain the unfairness.

  48. Looking through these photos, i am not surprised at the living conditions of the people of the Philippians, because i know this is the reality they live in. I am however astonished that they somehow manage to remain to positive and optimistic. Having pay-as-you go internet, these people must have some idea that they are living in an impoverished environment, and yet they still all manage to smile and remain happy, something that I personally could not see myself doing. To the kids and adults of the Philippians, i would like to say that i only wish i could live my life with the strength and be as content with life as you all are.

  49. Today was one of those things that you hear about all the time, but no picture or news report could prepare you for this. Walking into the slums, I felt like was punched in the face. Every problem that I’ve ever had or experienced seemed trivial in comparison to the hardships that a part of everyday life here. Thinking back to this morning, I felt guilty remembering complaining about how our room was too cold (too cold!) in the morning because the AC was on too high. It is so unfair that I was born into a privileged family and country. I kept thinking as we walked through that these people did nothing to deserve this. Nothing separates them from me. However, we were greeted by smiles and choruses of “happy new year!” the whole way through our walk. The happiness and welcoming attitude that we experienced in the face of such poverty was eye opening, and demonstrated the strength and resilience that these people have. This visit jarred my life into perspective , and I will definitely be more grateful for what I have.

  50. Seeing these photos left me in complete awe and shock. It’s difficult to consume how poor the living conditions are for the people there. It is crazy to think how much we complain about everyday when we live in such a luxurious country. Just by viewing these pictures has given me such a different perspective on everything. I can’t even imagine how life changing it must have been for the students who got to experience it first-hand. It’s incredible the amount of strength these people have and very inspiring at the same time. The fact that they have so little and are still filled with so much happiness truly makes me reflect on my life and all it’s privileges.

  51. It’s incredibly shocking to see these pictures and an unbelievable amount of pollution. Viewing these images really made me reflect on how fortunate I am to live in such a luxurious country and home. I will never take any of it for granted again. Seeing this has changed my perspective so much, I can’t even imagine how life changing it must have been for those who got to experience it first time. It is extremely strong of these people to continue in such an environment everyday and it is truly inspiring to see how filled with happiness they can be, even with so little.

  52. Seeing these photos was devastating, and I am absolutely shocked at what many people (the large majority appearing to be children) must endure daily. The massive amounts of garbage piling up, alongside the homes beneath the bridge especially struck a chord with me. It is horribly unfair that there are so many who must live this way. Observing Happyland however, and looking at the photos- many of the children are playing; enjoying themselves. They do not notice the devastation around them and appear to have positive outlooks. This is stunning, and now that I have witnessed what life can truly be like for some I am definitely going to continue mine with ever the optimism.

  53. It is really surprising to see how unlucky some people are. We as Canadians are born in a country with such wealth and power. I have seen something familiar myself. When I traveled to Honduras my aunt took me to the slums of El progreso and it was extremely devastating to see the condition of all the homes. Many of the boys my age (Age 5) were actually homeless or members of the local gangs. No matter what anyone says we take advantage of everything we have, everyday of our lives.

  54. looking through this post has really awakened me to the challenges and struggles faced daily by others surviving in such poor living conditions. After looking through the photos I feel the need to count my blessings. So many of us living in Canada take what we have for granted. Sometimes it takes a shift in perspective to learn gratitude.

  55. These pictures are crazy shocking. I didn’t think that it was actually that bad. You see the pictures and videos on TV but they don’t show you the worst of it. It’s just crazy to see the kids smiling but they live in that much poverty. It’s just shocking to see how bad it really is there and still never really hear about it in the news. These people deserve so much better and they got it when you all went over.

  56. Tondo was really different. Seeing all this actually made me extremely sad. just seeing how all these people live, and thinking about some of the things i’ve complained about just made me feel awful, i have nothing to complain about after seeing the slums today. Seeing how much poverty was around us and yet how happy everyone was, was just hard for me to really comprehend. I was just so shocked at how happy everyone could be when they were literally living in garbage, it’s one thing to work with garbage, but to actually live in it is a whole different story. After seeing the slums i’ve realized how lucky i am to have what i do and that i really have nothing to complain about.

  57. You hear all these news stories and pictures on the internet of the poverty and issues that occur in third world countries, you might think about it for a couple seconds and say how unfortunate it is but, then you forget about it and move on to enjoy the luxuries of life in Canada. Everyone is guilty of this including me. Before this trip I knew poverty was an pervasive issue, based on all the news stories I heard of on news channels like CP24. However, you really do not understand until you experience it first hand. The members of the community live among garbage (GARBAGE) and yet they’re so happy!! I remember the tour guide explaining that 30 families live on ONE side of the bridge and how many families cram into one small house. Yet in Canada I used to complain about sharing a room with my sister (seriously sharing a room with one person was such a problem for me)!! Also, some people in the community have to retrieve food form the garbage just to feed their family. In Canada we complain about our steak being too cold, or about the crust on our grilled cheese. Although, these problems everyone was so just soso happy. I remember being greeted with nothing but smiles and “hellos.” This was a surprise for me since I expected everyone to be unwelcoming. I definitely felt very guilty for the life I am blessed with in Canada and for all the fabricated problems I used to complain about. It feels unfair, why should I live the privileged life, what have I done to deserve it? That’s why we went though, to give back. I have definitely learned to be more grateful and to just be happy- I have no reasons to not be.

  58. All of the children were really sweet and beautiful people and it made my heart hurt. When choosing gifts, many kids happily took the toothbrush and clothing over the Barbies and the pencils over the toy cars. Many of the smaller kids reminded me fondly of filipino family friends living in Toronto. It’s odd to think two people of the same ethnicity and age can go through such different experiences. I still don’t know exactly how to feel three months after touring the smokey mountains in Tondo. Thinking about it from a comfortable room, snacking on chips makes my head hurt. How do I explain it? I’m shocked. I’m absolutely shocked. The slums are something you always hear about and know about but seeing it for yourself – walking through the makeshift streets as kids without shoes smile at you, it’s hard to believe that some people’s biggest problems are the amount of ‘Likes’ on their Facebook photo. Those in Happy Land literally live off of other’s garbage. They scavenge for everything: plastic bottles, people’s leftovers, any type of exhausting work. The tour leader said that most people who live in slums stay there their entire life. I don’t know how most of us would feel spending more than an hour there.

    It’s been three months. Three months and I still feel an unexplained outrage and awe boiling inside me. It’s the type of feeling that makes you want to turn away but keeps your eyes glued screaming “look at this – look and see the problem. Why isn’t this being fixed?”

  59. The slum tour gave me such a mix of emotions. These wonderful people full of happiness living in such poor conditions, but they don’t care. As long as they have their family and friends that’s what gives them joy. Meanwhile there are so many “first world problems” back home that aren’t even problems at all, they’re just complaints. People complaining for the sake of complaining. We are SO privileged to live in the country that we live in and we take it for granted almost every day, we don’t realize how much we have. There was one boy from the orphanage that followed us on the tour and he was eating a popsicle and when he was done he threw the stick in the river of garbage. They live in so much garbage that they’re just used to it and it breaks my heart.

  60. ​God Bless you and the team for being present, I think all involved would be moved by such experiences!

    Peace, Joy and Hope,
    Steve De Quintal
    Teacher, St. Mary’s CSS, 66 Dufferin Park Ave. Toronto, Ontario M6H-1J6. 416-393-5528 ext. 84293
    “that they may have life and have it the full.”
    “Snowflakes are one of nature’s most fragile things, but just look at what they can do when they stick together.” – Vesta M Kelly
    ***You can always email but a call or a visit will get a quicker response***
    ________________________________

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