There was this barrio, the smallest in terms of size and population in a dense town of Panabo City, Davao Province where the improbable meets reality. I have not seen one such instance in the first place that is why I took note of what was happening.
There was this communal feeding ground of fowls and this is what makes it different from the rest of poultry farms. People are also feeding deformed, mutilated and blind chicken. That is right, this livestock are never thrown out or exterminated but is left to live up to the final round of their natural span. They were even luckier than their healthy counterparts since the latter are harnessed for their meat and innards. The healthy ones are brought to the market place for the execution. Those misfits or warped are maintained and sustained for life.
These unwanted livestock are not even there for breeding. They have no use and purpose at all for the pragmatic except for sentimental reasons, whatever it is. And just the same, they are not even fit to be pets because of their unfortunate condition. Furthermore, the communal farms are not even designed as laboratory on which scientific observation and experimentation may be carried out. The chickens are plain blandishments of curiosity only, a plaything for children to make their day and for adults, a common ploy to while away time.
For me however, witnessing the folk reaction is instructive. The circus like ambiance is revealing. It silently teaches children kindness and for adults, compassion. It mollifies the nerve psychologically since watching dissatisfaction makes one satisfied; although this is least expected. The whole exercise of feeding is a collective event for care.
I tried to feign disgust as if my motorbike malfunctioned just to observe how the people would react. As I expected, a number of those throwing crumbs at the chicken immediately took notice and came over for the rescue. One of them offered to buy me gasoline at the corner store. One volunteered to call a nearby mechanic. Some of the ladies and children milling around the area offered the shade of their terrace-like contraption for me not to be ultra-violated by the high noon sun. The whole community was actually agog over my situation. Could this Samaritan concern be a result of the feeding exercise on the misshapen livestock or just a cultural practice among the underprivileged neighborhood? I have as yet to verify but from my vantage view, it seems like the feeding frenzy contributed to their social outlook.
I revived the motor engine as if I hardly started it and smiled at the folks. I left and bid the people goodbye and expressed gratitude for their attention. I went to the grocery and bought canned goods, bread and packs of soft drinks so that I could distribute it to the people in the area. It was my way of appreciating their concern.
As I watched and roamed around, I even noted that the community has no chapel or place for worship save for a space reserved for communal gathering.
For me, I finally, well accidentally, discovered one village with a membership exhibiting heightened humanistic concern for each other, for strangers and for ailing chicken!
It is faith and respect, for all its worth, in motion.