Constructed on top of buildings in the 1950s and 60s without government approval, illegal rooftop slums started to emerge as a desperate means to provide vital accommodations for low-income people in Hong Kong. These houses, made out of metal sheets and wooden planks, hardly provide any protection against strong winds and rains. Electrical wires hanging all over the walls pose a constant threat to residents.
A Logos Hope team had the chance to follow a local church to visit residents living in these rooftop slums as well as sub-divided flats. Many of the crewmembers noticed the residents’ amazingly positive spirits during the visitations. Joel Price (UK) experienced their joy and thankfulness, even with the little they have. Brandan Kemp (The Bahamas) also expressed the same. “They were so hospitable and wanted to invite everyone into their home, where there was practically no space to accommodate,” he recalled.
One of the volunteers, Mushin, who acted as a translator for Logos Hope crewmembers shared an interesting insight he had about poverty. “I have seen poor people who had to share a room with pigs and cows, but they were happy as the animals were their most prized possessions and that is the only life they knew about,” said Mushin. “However, these people are exposed to the glitz of the upper-class in Hong Kong and yet have to come home to a rooftop slum every day. It must be difficult and harsh for them.”
Despite this, the team experienced joyfulness during the visitations. The underclass in Hong Kong might be limited in space, but not in spirit. Their resilience to survive and forge a space for themselves amidst societal oppressions will pull through beyond physical limitations.