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Tuesday, 04 February 2014 09:53

Roman Abrego in Paradise Charity

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In Jan of 2014 Party in Paradise Tattoo Expo, in cooperation with artist Roman Abrego, began a two phase charity event. The first was a feed the street kids event where we invited about 100 street children to the Jollie Bee Restaurant at the Park Mall in Cebu. On the day of the event it began to rain a bit so we sent out a van to pick some of the kids and their parents up for the event. 

Roman Abrego arrived in town that morning about 1 am. That afternoon he came out to the event to help host all these children that had so little to a warm meal of burgers, chicken, spaghetti and some ice cream. There was games to play and candy to give out. The families had a great time and it was wonderful to see them all get a warm meal and some entertainment. Artist Jon Por Isberg came along and helped out with our cause.

During the invitation part of phase one we met Shirley Nadalo and her four kids. She was living in a make shift home, if you can call it that, with her husband Nemisio Quiapo. Shirley was pregnant and her living conditions were unthinkable. She appeared at the Roman Abrego dinner with all four kids in her hands. It was hear breaking to see her with two kids clinging to her legs and to infants in her arms. Despite the fact they were obviously very hungry she kept a wonderful smile on her face. During the dinner the announcer would say it was time to get in line to get ice cream or some other treat and we would see poor Shirley get up and try to get in the busy line with all those children clinging to her. One of the event organizer, Cris Paramel, got her out of line and brought ice cream to her as it seemed cruel to make this women stand in line with all her kids.
We decided that night that we would make an effort to help her and her family off the streets.
Shirley Nadalo (23 years old) had no easy life. She did not loose her way through drugs or gambling nor did she live as a bad person in any way. She was just born in tough times and never really got a break. I asked her how long she had been living in that area on the street and she told me at least ten years. Her mom had raised her there, making money by sifting through garbage for things to sale. Her and her husband had started to make some headway through the years as he worked as a pedicab driver to bring home some income as well as sell cigarettes from a street cart. When Shirley got pregnant with the twins they lost all the business in the process of paying a doctor to help them with the child birth. For only about $100 usd they lost everything. On top of it all on the way to the doctor Shirley gave birth to the twins in the back of the jeepney. there is a brand of jeepney made from a truck called an Elf, thus the two kids came into the world named Elf Joseph and Elta Mae. Later her husband Nemisio took on a security job but left it when the twins got severely sick and he asked his boss for an advance of about $40 usd to help take care of the kids. His employer denied him the funds and he left to try to find another way to care for his kids.
Near the Park Mall is an abandon city market. Once a busy place full of vendors selling fresh fish and other stables it became a cold empty open air building that many homeless families used for shelter from the rain and weather. Among these cold concrete slabs that where once tables is where Shirley and Nemisio went with thier kids Francis, Nemisio Jr. and of course Etla and Elf the twins. They stayede there for a while until the 7.2 earthquake in 2014 cracked the foundation of the building and they feared that the concrete might give way and crush them.
Near the abandon market some street vendors and squatters had set up shop and they found an abandon fruit vendors cart. With 200 pesos from her sister, they bought a tarp and made a home out of that old cart. The floor is about 4 foot wide and maybe 6 foot long. This is where we met Shirley and her family, living on a street corner squeezing in this tiny tent for shelter from the weather. They slept inside with no comforts at all . Not a pillow or blanket, only body heat to stay warm at night. There was a concrete gutter that black water ( drainage from showers and baths) ran right under their home. Shirley told us how many times during the night they would hear a scream and know that they had moved and one of the kids had fallen out of the shelter and onto the ground. Living in these conditions has lots of hazards. Without doors kids have a tendency to sneak out and go explore. Once the two older kids got out during the night and wondered down to a busy highway. They could have easily got crushed by cars if they had not been found in time. Other hazards include being robbed which seems extra bad when they rob those that have nothing. Any food they found had to be watched closely or some one would steal it, this included the left overs Shirley brought home from the charity dinner we brought her family to. When she got home with her left over which they planned to eat the next day, they got stolen. Remarkably enough Shirley and her family also watched out for another homeless person, a blind man, and helped him by sharing food when they found it. She told us how a man got out of prison and roamed the area. He would steal food from the blind man who could not defend himself.
Phase two involved getting this family off the streets and back into the working population. we wanted to have them able to provide for themselves and be safe within a year. With the help of Roman Abrego and other Party in Paradise Artist and guest we were able to get them a small place to call home and rent it for a year. We took them out to the store and bought food and supplies for cooing and basic bedding for them. Even a few toys for kids that had never had any. Shirley actually said she did not need so much but we made sure they would have things necessary to have a home. The kids were so excited by simple things like a pillow or a bed. Brought tears to the eyes to see them so happy.
We have more planned through out the year including a new pedicab For Nemisio to start providing again and health check ups for the kids and Shirley as she will be having a baby this year. please continue to watch as we follow their life. If you would like to give to this fund you can send funds through Lost Sailor Tattoo in Mandaue, Cebu Philippines (+63 932 858 4292) or through Lost Sailor Tattoo in Chandler AZ. (480-777-2910). Only a few dollars can help so much. Thanks


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