Things We Lost in the Fire
I have been following the life of Rica Ramasamy — close to two years now. Rica is in her late 60s and a founding member of the Home for the Golden Gays.
I used to live a few blocks from her shanty, in the heart of Pasay in Manila. I moved towards the end of 2016 to a different part of the city but continued to document her life and we remained steady friends. This year has not been a good start for Rica, on the morning of the 18th of February a fire broke on her block — under suspicious circumstances.
At daybreak, Rica rose to sweep the grounds of her neighborhood- and returned home to nothing. Her diminutive house, raised to the ground.
We sat on the steps of the open aired basketball court of a public school- a street up from her house. The floor of the classroom would have to make do for the next two weeks. The property had been barricaded with metal sheets, written in bright white paint read-
“Private property, trespassers will be arrested.”
“Is this final?” Rica said to me. “ Is this how it will all end?” she continued, holding back tears. It took me a few seconds to figure out how to console her.
I was not quick enough.
Rica fixed her hair and started to sing. In between the chorus she asked-
“Do you think you can lend me a gown?”
(words and photos)
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Originally published at thegoldengays.wordpress.com on February 21, 2017.