Rusty lives with his parents in a shanty that is owned by his grandmother.
His mother, Thelma, cares for her five children at home while his father works as a farmer. Earning just 300 pesos per week (AU$20), Rusty’s parents often struggle to meet the basic needs of their children.
When the family can’t afford to buy food, they go into the forest to gather edible plants to eat.
There’s a creek nearby that they use to collect drinking water. The children have to lug heavy buckets of water back to their shanty, where they bathe and wash their clothes. Rusty is thankful that his family has access to a toilet, which they share with another family.
One day, a heavy storm was battering the roof and the walls of their home. Rusty’s family decided to move to his uncle’s house where they thought they’d be safe. But on the way, Rusty slipped and fell, hitting his head on a rock. To stop the bleeding, Thelma rushed him to the hospital where he had to have stitches.
Rusty’s parents borrowed the money to pay for his medical procedure. They are still in debt, paying it back very slowly.
But they have hope that through a kind person helping them through Compassion, things will get better, as Rusty has been registered and is waiting for a sponsor.