Following a devastating fire that consumed much of Botocan, a squatter community home to our SP Manila team, God's hope appeared in an unexpected way. Amor, a Botocan resident and member of the local church, reveals how street art has transformed a symbol of hopelessness into one of healing.
Our community has a huge wall that divides the rich and the poor. According to my grandma, there was no divider before. But because of security purposes, they built a wall to protect their properties from slum people. When I heard that explanation from my grandma, I felt like I was living on the side of darkness—the worst place ever.
When I was a child, my definition of being poor was not having a right to dream high. That hopelessness is what the wall symbolized for me. Before, I really wanted to wreck it to see how wealthy the other side was. The plain brick wall made my friends and I feel hopeless because it was so plain and empty. The wall was an obstacle as a child to the dream that we could do better to help our community.
Our community experienced a large fire on February 6, 2018. Almost 500 families lost their houses. After a few days, the lower part of the community already had words of encouragement in a form of graffiti art on the wall. The words read “Bangon Botocan,” which means “Stand Again, Botocan.” After that, some of the victims of the fire posted photos with the graffiti on Facebook; it brought them a new hope to start over again. After one month, the group who made the graffiti decided to paint more on the wall.
In the midst of disaster God is working through colors. He used different kinds of instruments to show his love to everyone here in our community. I think one of the best ways to show God’s hope is through colors like what he did in the the story of Noah’s Ark. He used a rainbow as a symbol of hope. Our community was able to help and encourage each other in order to stand together with the presence of God. The wall of hopelessness has become a wall of hope, love, and encouragement. #BangonBotocan