Scorching sun. Open Sea. They are nature’s gift of abundance. Waves and splashes. Makeshift boat. They are children’s greatest delight. “All in a day’s work”, shall we say or “Children are always children. Play is what they deserve”. Either way, what do you see?
Upon looking at the photo, have it crossed your mind that they were enjoying this moment of play time? Have it dawned on you that they were courageously racing to find out who could swim fast? Have you thought how deep these children can dive? What do you see?
This sight along the sea ports is very common in our country. The sea travelers are these children’s hero. They are the ones that have been looked up to. Flipping coins toward the air, or tossing them out of the children’s way, surely you’ll see a delightful act of swimmers and divers, trained as the call of nature. The sun is their confidant. As the tossed coins landed and sunk in the water, the rays of the sunshine reflects the light as it hits the coin. And whose heart could not be touched seeing that youngest child, sitting in that makeshift boat, floating just in-front of you. It’s their way of living. How do you feel?
They belong to a tribal group called Badjao or sea gypsies. Living in houses on stilts, the Badjaos know no other source of living but the sea. With dwindling catches due to overfishing in the area, the sea gypsies are left with nothing. Once they were in the mountains, but because of development projects like large-scale mining, and agribusiness plantations, this tribe, and many others have been marginalized and are now deprived of sources for primary production, livelihood and food security. They have been deprived in using their own land. Government had done nothing much to aid these groups, but re-iterating their seem to be “fictionary” initiatives. Non-profit organizations, in connection with local missionaries are backing these tribes to get their ancestral lands back. While that belongs to an unknown future, what can they do?
These Badjao children are not playing in that beautiful sea, with their innovative idea of a makeshift boat. Their skills are developed by their need of survival. For them, it’s all in a day’s work.