Huseyin I met while waiting for an appointment today in Greenbelt Malls in Makati.
He made some instantaneous assumptions about who I was and what I was doing, and keeping with the flow I had hopes of getting a shot of him with his permission. After catching a couple of shots I moved in to suggest another pose, as he seemed friendly enough. That’s when everything changed.
Huseyin was a Turkish citizen married to a Filipina with a young child. Huseyin no longer works, having spent his fortune years ago as his business declined and disappeared. His wife is home, disabled. His young son is sick. He has no money. He needs food for the boy. He can’t find work. There is no power in his house. His embassy told him they were not responsible for his problems and won’t help him. He won’t ask Filipinos because they will tell him to go back where he came from (I suggested he ask them for money to go back). He smoked a cigarette and drank a coke, the only sustenance he was to have today, except for the bottled water he carried in his bag. He needs money. He took a bus from Valenzuela, a city only 10 km but 60 minutes away. Tomorrow’s his birthday. Today he badly needs a bath.
I took no more pictures and I left, but he found me on the other side of the mall. My appointment was several minutes late (but worth the wait). I was eventually rescued, and although he threw every hint he never directly asked me for money.
Huseyin remains a ship without a port, rudderless and (maybe) penniless, shipwrecked on this island paradise called Philippines…
Until next time!