In the Slums of Manila

In the Slums of Manila

On my third day in Manila I saw a woman weeding her temporary patch of the
park along the bay. One wall of her house, a squatter’s plastic-sacking and drift-plywood hovel, consisted of a hand-painted sign. It said, “10-PESO ACROSS THE BORD WAGE INCRESE.”

I was curious, and then electrified. She owned nothing more than her rags and salvaged scraps; and her position there on Roxas Boulevard near downtown was extremely precarious. Yet she had bothered, amid housekeeping and watching out for the police, to put up a pathetic, defiant sign. For an American raised on sporadic protests by a comfortable middle-class against events happening five or ten thousand miles away, that sign came as something like a revelation.

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Lima