Smudged Windows

During the recent holidays, the company I work for decided to set aside some amount of money to buy groceries to give away to the less-fortunate. It was our way of giving thanks for all our blessings in the year 2001 and also a way by which we can share those blessings with others.

The groceries were thus packed in individual plastic bags for distribution. Shortly before Christmas, we then went around in my boss' car, looking for families to give away the groceries to.

Notwithstanding President Gloria Arroyo's pronouncement or assessment that we are doing quite well, economically, our "grocery distribution" was quite an eye-opener. In streets where we initially thought there were only a few people, families suddenly mushroomed out of nowhere, excited by the thought of the coming rain - of biscuits, noodles, tuna, milk, among others. They all suddenly lunged for our vehicle, the view from our windows suddenly covered by masses upon masses of hands, arms, and faces.

It was a wonder we even managed to move on and continue. It was a different afternoon, to say the least. I never saw faces which mirrored both hope and desperation. Right outside the car, was determination in action, even in the bleakest of situations.

Having given out all the bags we had loaded in the car, we set back for our office. As we were parking, we turned to look at the car windows, all smudged up with finger prints and handprints. Perhaps arm and body prints even. The only signs that remained now of how some things we take for granted, can mean so much to other people.

There is something definitely wrong with this picture, even if our politicians crow about their economic achievements and even if we can stay away from confronting such issues for the rest of the year. What can you and I do? I'm still figuring things out in my head but from where I sat, looking through smudged windows, it was funny, but the view was never clearer.

[By Angelica Viloria | Monday, January 7, 2002]


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