By Manman Dejeto
Pantar’s tent city is across a primary school and down the road from a national high school. However, not all children from Marawi were accommodated to continue their studies in Pantar.
Among those fortunate to be enrolled in Pantar’s schools are the children of Gamor Dirindigun. Gamor chose to move out of his relative’s place and live in the tent city so he can continue to send his children to school.
Gamor and his wife, Ribisalam, ran a dress shop out of their home in Marawi City. They had a modest business with seven sewing machines plus a zigzagger, a specialized sewing machine used to stitch the edge of cloth to prevent fraying. Their dress shop is situated between the two main access bridge of Mapandi and Banggolo that lead to downtown Marawi.
One day, teachers who were frequent customers of Gamor’s dress shop in Marawi saw him on the streets of Pantar. Learning that he had lost his home and business to the war, one of the teachers offered to lend Gamor a sewing machine she had at home.
“Kinamusta nila kami, kung may nadala ba kami sa mga makina namin. Sabi ko wala, wala talaga. Kaya voluntarily pinahiram ang isang makina ng teacher.”
Gamor was saved.
Tent City Tailor
Gamor and his wife were off to a good start. They were the nearest dress shop to a school and had a steady stream of jobs making uniforms for schoolchildren and their teachers. Gamor earns 350 pesos for a uniform for elementary schoolchildren, and 200 pesos for the blouse of high school students.
Their fellow tent city residents made them repair clothes they received from donations, a quick trim to size or a patch to repair a frayed hem.
Gamor, the tailor, couldn’t have said it any better. In life, he says, “Kailangan wala kang inaapakan. Sa akin, ang inaapakan ko lang itong apakan ng makina ko.”