Earlier this evening, my sister sent me a link to a BBC Documentary on The Toughest Place To Be A Bus Driver. Naturally, overpopulated Manila was the city picked.
Josh West, a bus driver from London, trades in his high-technology double decker bus for Manila's Jeepneys. He moves in to Rogelio's, a filipino jeepney driver, home and immediately experiences life as one of the most difficult workers in Manila's angry and busy streets.
After having seen the conditions in which Rogelio's family, friends and community lived, I immediately felt like the luckiest girl in the world. Seeing this really makes you thankful for the life that you have been born into. The people from wealthier families rarely take pause and give thought to those who were born with no such privilege. In theory, we know that poverty exists and we know that it is a harsh reality. Knowing this and seeing it with your own eyes, however, is world's apart. I don't mean to get too preachy, but fact of the matter is, this society and community exists in our daily life and we brush it off like the lint in our clothing. I can only imagine how Josh felt during this entire endeavor.
Make no mistake, Josh did not complain nor pity the state in which he was forced to spend 10 days off of his regular life. Truth be told, he was sympathetic to their plight and more than once mentioned that had he been born in the Philippines instead of London, he would find himself in the same place as Rogelio - barely surviving in a 10 by 10 home and earning 600 pesos a day. Although poverty was not the central idea of the documentary, it took a large part of it simply because that was the life Rogelio knew. I feel ashamed that it had to take someone from a different country to have awakened stirrings of awareness in me.
Rogelio, amidst the conditions the world has dealt him, places pride and dignity in his work and that is just the most heart-wrenching thing in the planet. Truly. What an amazing person. The bond that he and Josh forged is one of the most beautiful friendships that I have ever seen and I am in awe of the kidness and love that they have shown and given each other. To each other, neither is superior nor better. They are 2 men, both living in this world, both doing the same job, and both commiserating with the other. Josh, I just want to shake your hand and give you a hug.
This documentary must be shared and seen by all and I urge you to watch.
P.S. They also mention the Reproductive Health Bill and I ask my friends to reconsider their stance. Most of you, I am well aware, are against it, so I hope you take the time to educate yourselves on the effect it will have in this country.
Watch the documentary HERE.