Magazine article New Internationalist

Jack: The Kind of Life I Want

Magazine article New Internationalist

Jack: The Kind of Life I Want

Article excerpt

I sleep in a park. Sometimes I wake up during the night. As soon as I wake up I start doing something - I beg, I ask for money and food, even from strangers. Then I sleep again. Sometimes I wake up in the afternoon.

I don't like it but I also wipe shoes. I can earn 200 pesos [$3.65] in one day from wiping shoes inside the [very crowded] jeepneys. I don't know how many shoes I have to wipe to earn it. I get kicked on my back by some of the passengers.

I use a cloth to wipe shoes. I don't have any polish or anything. I just ask the drivers for a piece of cloth. I pick up rags in the jeepney even when the driver is not there. Sometimes the driver gets down from the jeep and goes inside to where the passengers are. And he has a pipe which he uses to beat me. When people hit me I always tell my friends.

We are also beaten by the police. And even by those who conduct the 'rescue operations' [local government sponsored round-ups of street children, usually at night, who are then held in detention centres - Reception and Action Centres (RAC) ]. Once I was caught but not at first because I ran and ran and ran. The woman who caught us, cornered us and punched me in the nose. There was blood and I had a swelling in my eye. I did nothing. My brother also went to the RAC and they beat him. A chair was thrown at him. When I saw that, I escaped. They followed after me. I was wounded - here is my wound [points to wounds on his stomach and thigh].

I also had an accident here on UN Avenue. Two jeepneys got out of control and I found myself in the middle. …

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