An Ode to a Street Sweeper

Thursday, August 14, 2008

It was still raining when I woke up at 5 AM this morning. In the gloomy darkness of my room. I could hear faint sounds of broom sweeping outside. It was our barangay street sweeper Manong Iko. He was sweeping the streets even in the midst of this pouring rain! I was shocked! Then it came to me. Manong Iko has been sweeping the streets since...well, before I can remember. He has been sweeping the streets waaaay back when I was still a little girl. My hubby told me that he has been sweeping the streets when he was a still a kid. Rain or shine, he does his job everyday, at the crack of dawn, sweeping the streets.

I can recall last New Years day when he was also sweeping the streets. We hadn't even slept yet and he was already doing his job. Sure, the streets where littered with ash and paper and remnants of firecrackers when the barangay residents (including my father) used to greet the New Year, but instead of taking time to rest, Manong Iko was sweeping the streets, even if it was a holiday. I guess, he doesn't have one or he chooses to sweep the streets in the morning and rest after. Now that is what service is all about. He is only paid a few pesos a month for his early morning excursion but that doesn't seem to deter him in his quest to clean up our streets.

I usually leave my house at around 7 AM and see that our street is spotless. At first, I didn't think about it until I realized how one person has been cleaning up after us every morning. It's a shame, really, when I see people on cars or motorbikes, throw their trash on the street as they pass by. Unknowingly, it seems that they have besmirched Mang Iko's pride and joy.

Next time you throw your trash anywhere, be sure to remember the Mang Iko's out there who are keeping your streets clean. They may have one of the lowliest jobs on earth but at least they are doing their part to save it. They are making a difference. Matsalams (thank you) Mang Iko!

Article originally posted in Coffee Cup Princess. CCP is no longer available right now.

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5 deranged screams:

{girl}forallstatus August 15, 2008 at 4:10 AM  

Thank God for these people. How can we live without them? They're life-savers, really. =)

Kat August 15, 2008 at 6:49 AM  

Many Pinoys take for granted those people who strive to make our lives better in small ways. I've learned to appreciate them especially since they often work on days when we rest!

I remember this man who lived across from my grandparents who would wake up early every morning to sweep the street in front of his house, my grandparents', and a few of the other neighbors. He never asked for anything in return. He's passed on some three years ago though, and we've moved away from the house. I wonder how the streets there are doing.

Z'riz August 15, 2008 at 1:09 PM  

@Cherry: I dug this post up from my other blog when I read about the lady who gets your trash every morning. :)

@Kat: There are people like our Manong Iko. It's pretty amazing really. I wonder what would happen to our streets when he'll pass on. :(

BTW I've edited my post! LOL It seems that I didn't check my spelling and grammar before posting...AGAIN! *blush*

faeryrowan August 15, 2008 at 4:36 PM  

People like Manong Iko make the world a much better place to live in (literally and figuratively!). It's not going to be the same without them...or maybe perhaps when they leave this Earth, they will pass on their legacy to someone just as committed. Wish we all could be like Manong Iko in every little thing that we do. :)

scatterhaiku August 15, 2008 at 10:08 PM  

sweet story. inspiring as well. :)