JOSHUA 14years old : to live and die in Manila

Created on Thursday, 01 January 2015

Couloir sous le pont Devant l'entrée du couloir

A less degrading lodging was found by the family. It did not have however all the mod cons: it is 8m2 with neither water nor electricity, is set in the slums and costs about 80euros a month. Joshua returned to his family at the age of 10. Senden Home continued to support Joshua who benefited from the programme of aid to the families. Rose visits the family every month. Joshua and his mother, like all the other families, used to go to the Home every third Sunday of the month. Last August, Joshua started to have a fever as well as having a feeling of great fatigue and he also had bleeding. In Manila, hospitalisation and doctor’s treatment are free but complementary exams and treatment must be paid for. Unfortunately the diagnosis of a medullar aplasia was rapidly confirmed. This is a disease of the bone marrow which no longer produces the constituent elements of the blood (white corpuscles, red corpuscles and platelets.) This disease is very serious; the only treatment allowing a cure is a marrow graft. This treatment was alas not conceivable. Medullar aplasia is very rare. One of the causes is of poisonous origin. The petrol fumes breathed in abundantly while living under the bridge of the high speed motorway were probably the cause. We visited Joshua at the beginning of November in the paediatric haematology service. He was in the section of the hospital reserved for the poverty stricken. The only treatments proposed in the absence of a marrow graft were transfusions. The transfusions were not free and the mother did everything she could to find the money for them and she got herself into debt. It wasn’t explained to her that these transfusions could in no way be a cure; they only had a palliative effect. She pawned her “pédicab” at an interest rate of 5°/o per month!!! Patrick, the 17 year old son, nursed Joshua at home while his mother tried to find the money. He had to stop going to his classes. During our last visit, the two children hadn’t eaten since the day before. The few family belongings had been thrown into the street because the rent of their “lodging” hadn’t been paid for several months. A chain of solidarity amongst the sponsors and friends from France allowed them to attend to what was most urgent: to provide food for the mother and her children, to pay for their medical care and to buy back the “pédicab”. A long preparation allowed Joshua’s mother to accept the unavoidable nature of the Joshua’s death in the near future.

Joshua died on the 6th December. The funeral costs were about 200 Euros. A burial plot had also to be paid for. 

A la chapelle

So his mother set about trying to find the required sum. The Route Sans Frontière friends, moved by this situation, paid the majority of the sum required as well as the unpaid rent.

A custom that we could find unusual, was the wonderful example of solidarity, even though the sum collected was minimal: for a week, while waiting for the funeral, in front of the chapel where the coffin was exposed, men played cards and dice. They played for money, part of the gains were given to the family to participate in the funeral expenses. 

This acco unt helps us to understand the difficulties of life and death for poor families. The solidarity which surrounded them gives a wonderful example to us all.

  Joshua en 2009           Joshua et sa maman en 2014          Joshua en déc 2009



Joshua en 2009, au foyer, lors de notre première rencontre (Photos 7 & 8). Joshua en Juillet 2014 (Photo 9)

Route sans Frontière parrainages, association loi 1901

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