Gerald works with water
Leyte, Philippines – As soon as his class ends, Gerald hurriedly exits his school and walks his way home. He drops his bag, goes outside, and knocks on his neighbor’s door. From there, he proceeds to the common water pump carrying two empty water containers. This is how the 14-year-old boy earns money for tomorrow’s school allowance.
Gerald began fetching water for money a few years ago when his grandfather, 69 years old, retired from fishing. His grandmother, 70 years old, is also too old to work.
The 9th grader found the way to earn by going out with his older friends who also regularly carry water jugs on afternoons. At first, Gerald could only carry 2 to 4 jugs a day but his arms got used to the heavy lifting – he can now fetch 6 to 10 water jugs. Gerald is paid P10 per jug.
The communal deep-well pump is located around 50 meters away from the residential area and Gerald has familiarized the path to safely bring the water jugs without harming himself. He knows which parts are slippery and which are safe. He has also developed an instinct on when to take a break to avoid loosing grip of the water jugs.
However, the money Gerald earns might support his school expenses but it takes away his time to study and drains him physically to work on school projects. “I’m worried that my grades are low because I couldn’t study for exams or quizzes,” Gerald expressed.
Gerald’s parents, who live in Manila, left him to his grandparents since he was 8 months old. He has five siblings who are also living with their parents. He doesn’t have any communication with them but he hopes to meet them someday.
The lack of water access in the community may act as a blessing in disguise for the young boy, but for World Vision, it is an issue that violates Gerald’s right to be protected from laborious work. The organization also partners with local government units to establish water facilities.
Gerald is just one of the many children that the organization serves. Support the work of World Vision as we transform lives one child at a time.World Vision/March 22, 2017