Today was a very intense day. Intense in a weird, confusing and uncomfortable way and intense in a very inspiring, empowering and impressing way.
Melona, our partner and friend of the Defend Job Philippines, really wanted to introduce us to some homeless families living next to the railway tracks. We asked ourselves many times before what that would add to our project and if it wouldn’t be weird to go there to meet these very poor people, but Melona insisted we had to meet them. At the spot it turned out to be that she knew them very well and so actually she wanted to introduce us to her friends and their children, who happened to be homeless. The community welcomed us with open arms, honoured and honestly taking care of us, which made us feel uncomfortable and with a reason of course.
If we thought we’re poor squatters from Amsterdam, here we were so rich these people could not even imagine. Weren’t we just stupid tourists? Or more like the development workers from unicef you see sometimes, proudly posing with poor kids with flies flying around? Or were we just invited to some ‘homes’ of our friend’s friend? All of these thoughts going through our heads and then suddenly some of the little girls started singing songs about living in the shanty town, about being evicted over and over again, about never being able to be somewhere long enough to feel ‘home’ and being violently robbed from the homemade spaces you just started to call ‘home’. Glad we went there. And glad we got this on camera.
The second part of the day was our meet and great with the workers of the Advan Shoe Factory who started a union and filmed the injustice happening inside the factory. The tree women came in little shy but ‘wow’ what an enormous empowerment and intense stories these women were carrying with them. They told us about the harassment by their boss before, during and after work. About the moments they decided they could not take it any longer. Gloria, the ‘president’ of the union, told us about the sexual harassments and the moment she decided to tell him to fuck off, unite and make all the women in the factory understand how important the union was. They first spontaneously started filming what was going on inside the factory with their mobile phones and then started to be more organized and spread it on the internet with the help of local video collective Tudla. We were happy to hear how empowered and connected these women felt after taking action by using the camera as a tool.
Here again we have some excellent video-material!
Tomorrow we’ll visit the old empty ex-Triumph factory and will meet the ex-Triumph workers who started their own little business in solidarity bags to support their struggle against Triumph and this garment-industry injustice. Keep posted!
Popular means of transport only for short distances even with many people and lots of stuff!
Wow, first couple of days have passed and it’s hot! So hot you don’t need to use salt in your food cause sweat’s dripping on your plate 😉 Further we have met so many great people! And also some great, well, ehm gigantic cockroaches, big as pineapples! First muskito bites in the pocket and realizing that we never thought of ourselves as ‘white people’ or been addressed as ‘ma’am’. Where are all the tourists?! Strange how we seem to be the only visitors around. People are so amazingly welcoming and friendly. We even had a private concert last night of a popular band within the workers movement. They sing songs about the women, their struggles, comrades, empowerment and solidarity. Check the small clip attached below!
Even more important is our first meeting with the Defend Job Philippines people. What an inspiring and so empowering group of people! However it was a very long and little chaotic meeting. Many great idea’s and expectations came out of it and now we have to try to focus that down to more concrete plans. Quite a job 😉 Especially since we have very little time cause all of our time is planned in in a very busy schedule already. Tomorrow we will go to the ex-Triumph Factory and see where the workers had their picket line, then we’ll go to the Edvan Factory where workers did a video-project also recently, we will be able to interview workers and film stuff. If we manage we will also go to meet people at the cooperation where ex-triumph workers started their own little business in ‘solidarity bags’. Hope we can bring some to spread the solidarity.
Much more to come soon…. Keep posted and spread the word!
While packing stuff we hear the following news from one of us who is allready in the area:
A typhoon some 1,600 kilometers (994 miles) from the Philippine capital is supercharging summer monsoon rains, which have flooded parts of Manila and could trigger flash floods and landslides across other parts of the country, forecasters said Wednesday.
Let’s hope everyone is ok!
It’s allmost so far. We are going to bring a preparation visit to Manila in the Philippines. We will finally meet the women from ‘Defend Job Philippines’ who have been very inspiring, enthousiastic about our project and helpfull with everything that needs to be arranged. Together we decided to set up big plans for the coming year. But before all this will get a chance, we need to bring a pre-visit.
Since all three of us happen to be in different countries at the moment we’re using skype to prepare the big visit. Who brings what, how many kilo’s can we bring, tripods, camera’s, battery’s, muskitonets etc.. We also have to prepare our meetings, possible workshops, trainings and find out who to reach where. We’re all super excited!