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Life is cheap in the Philippines

working in philippines

Here is a man, Jun and his wife Marina. Jun is a fisherman by trade but today with the waters being over fished (100 million people in the Philippines, most eating fish daily) the daily catch is not too much any more. So he works as a mason, and carpenter and has worked for me off and on for 5 years. He is paid 300 pesos a day + lunch. That is about $7 a day. In the picture you see him using standard tools. A hammer, and a concrete nail, in a pvc pipe as a chisel. This is how they cut through walls to install windows and doors and other related work. He never saw a real concrete saw.

Also seen here is his wife who works for me year round at 150 pesos ($3.50) a day, which is BETTER than the average pay here for the same work. They have 5 kids and a part of their salary (75 cents per person) is used every day for transportation to and from their small village. Marina supports the family as Jun can’t find work every day. I pay the school fees and related costs for their (now) 16 year old daughter. Chump change to us Americans.

mother and child

The small child in the photo with Marina is her grandchild and has died as of last year. I took this picture a couple of trips ago as the child had respiratory issues and was hospitalized several times. At that time, there was no PhilHealth insurance available (free as of now to the very poor here). PhilHealth is not much but better than nothing. Very limited and still medications are often out of stock in the hospital pharmacy. I had paid the prior hospital visits and medications at an average cost to me to $20 to $30 dollars each time.

So why did the child die? Because I had already been paying the prior medical costs, which in reality had cost me less than $100 combined over 2 years, put the grandparents Jun and Marina into the embarrassing position of having to ask money again… So they didn’t and as a result, the child died. In the hospital with doctors and medicine available, but there was no money ($20!!!!) so there was nothing done. A simple IV antibiotic would have changed the outcome. But the mother, 18 and a single parent living at home with her parents, who were too proud to ask, once again, for money to buy medicine.

A daily occurrence here in the Philippines, out on Samar where if you don’t work, you don’t eat.

Hammer and chisel

 

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