extened family

The Society for the Propagation of Faith

With tombstones for beds and grave markers for pillows, thousands of families in Manila will go to sleep tonight in the cemetery they call home. In the bustling capital city of the Philippines, the most marginalized of its citizens seek refuge in a sprawling graveyard. 


Invisible to most of the city, the residents of the cemetery live with just one public toilet, no running water, and no electricity save for what is cobbled illegally from the city system. As with most informal settlements around the world, city leaders tried several times to evict the people who had nowhere else to go. After a while they gave up, turning a blind eye those who would be born, live, and die in a graveyard.

And so, a community survived in the strangest of places. Bits of cardboard and plastic were used to make shelters over the graves to protect sleeping children from the elements; clotheslines were strung across tombs to dry meager belongings. Children played amid the tombs and parents scrounged for food in the garbage. It seemed a place without hope – until the missionaries arrived.