Baseco is a huge and very congested squatter community located along Manila’s north harbor in Tondo. The area derives its name from the Bataan Shipyard & Engineering Corporation, and its origin goes back to the Marcos era. Baseco has a notorious reputation.
Missionaries Jeff and Mary Ann Anderson and the Street Impact Team (SITeam) have been involved there since 2001, when a huge fire gutted the entire community, and the team responded by doing a large relief operation.
Jeff writes, “Since the fire we’ve continued to minister there through two more major fire relief operations, several evangelistic Christmas parties, speaking in churches, and conducting medical clinics and Daily Vacation Bible Schools (DVBS).
“Currently, we have four feedings taking place as a follow-up to last December’s large Christmas party. Before we started working in Baseco, we were warned not to venture into the community because of the real danger to outsiders; however, the fire in 2001 provided an opening for us to help needy people and assist churches with their gospel outreach.
“Today, the SITeam is well known and has many friends there. It’s common for us to be walking along Baseco’s muddy, potholed, narrow streets and be greeted by people we know and many we don’t know. Even though this is very encouraging, our hearts are broken over the plight of families living in squalor and grinding poverty.
“As we minister there, we see kids looking for food and a word of encouragement. Each of our activities is packed with noise, laughter, and Bible teaching, while workers and moms try to control the crowd.
“The huge pots used to cook the food are scraped clean to the last grain of rice, with people looking for seconds, thirds, or fourths. Many kids save some to take home
to family members or to eat later. For lots of reasons, we can’t help everyone in this overcrowded slum, though we want to!
“It grieves us to see skinny, deeply tanned, undersized little kids doing heavy work for a few pesos a day in the blazing sun, but we don’t have enough food to feed everyone nor do we have enough workers.
“While we have great joy as we feed people both nourishing physical and soul-satisfying spiritual food, we pray to the Lord of the Harvest to send us more workers to help us in Baseco and other communities like it.”