Photographers' Blog

Going hungry

By Bobby Ranoco

When I saw a headline in a local paper that the number of Filipino families experiencing hunger had risen from 4.3 million to 4.5 million, I called my sources in the slum district of Baseco community in Tondo, Manila.

I was told there would be a feeding program for children sponsored by South Korean missionaries later in the afternoon. When I arrived, I was surprised to see hundreds of children gathered outside the missionary house waiting for a free meal.

I have covered this kind of subject several times but this time I was so emotional seeing lots of hungry children, most of them barefoot and dirty. When a man distributing food stubs arrived, all the children rushed and scrambled to get one. I noticed a girl carrying her brother on her back amid the scramble.

The place could not accommodate all 300 children to eat at one time so they took turns.

Children ate quickly with their bare hands so that others could eat too. While watching them hungrily eating and continuing to fire the shutter on my camera, I profusely thanked God that my children don’t go hungry and do not need to scramble for a free meal.

from Africa News blog:

PHOTOBLOG: Children in Kenya and Haiti forced to grow up fast, if they survive

I had a flashback the other day when I was looking at photographs from Haiti of 15-year-old Fabianne Geismar, shot dead in the head after stealing wall hangings from a Port-au-Prince store, crushed in the Jan. 12 earthquake.

The image of Fabianne sprawled on the ground, blood trailing over the paintings she'd grabbed, took me back to my own childhood in Nairobi and the sight of a 7- or 8-year-old-boy - probably the same age as me at the time - who was caught stealing sweets from a street vendor and was beaten and burnt with rubber tyres. They called it mob justice.

REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins

REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins

To this day, I'll never understand why that poor boy had to die such a violent and senseless death for something so trivial. I feel the same way about Fabianne - she survived one of the most catastrophic events in living memory, only to be shot in the head for petty theft. And for stealing wall hangings where there are no walls.

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