Last Saturday, I joined some Nuffnangers on a visit to Sunshineville in Las Pinas. Sunshineville. You gotta love a place named like that! And you know what? The people who live there truly are filled with sunshine. And look at how they decorate their windows! I was just so delighted!
Sunshineville is a community development project of the Gawad Kalinga Foundation. The place used to be an ultra-low income neighborhood. In today's PC terms, informal settlers. In other words, squatters. But through the efforts of Gawad Kalinga and many corporate sponsors, these people are now living in their own homes (they pay Php500 a month!). They all have a sense of ownership and belonging. And these can do wonders to the soul!
Going around the colorful neighborhood and talking to the people, I was amazed at how confident they are, at how proud and happy they are. Many times when I meet people, they regard me with resentment--insecure and ashamed of how different they are from me. And I'm not even talking about poor people--some people who are so fantastically blessed can be angry just because your skin is lighter or you're thinner. Or they look down on you because of the same shallow reasons. I can't understand this!
In Sunshineville, I felt none of that nonsense. In Sunshineville, they didn't make me feel like I was better than them. I felt like I was with equals. And I truly was! The people at Sunshineville not only are paying for their mortgage, they also built their houses. They also have a livelihood that gives them self-worth (I'll talk about this livelihood later!). No one talked about how many cars you owned or what new fitness fad or diet pill you're taking or what designer brand you just bought. What we talked about was our work and how wonderful it is to work!
It is a most beautiful thing to witness how an honest day's work gives people dignity. I'm so inspired! Can you imagine if the entire country was transformed like this? Now I want to put up a business so I can give people jobs and make more people happy!
*for more photos of Sunshineville (especially the people! Haha, sorry, was so fascinated by the windows I forgot to take pictures of the people!), click here!