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Bato

Did he pick up something from the digging at our entrance, some tool the workers used, or even a pack of nails or whatever?

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When September rolled in a few weeks ago, our neighborhood woke up to the announcement that the length of our street would be dug up to make way for a drainage improvement project.

It was a multi-part project. They were starting first with our street and, in the next year, follow with the other streets around us.

It was about time. Ever since a condominium sprung up at the end of our street in the late Nineties, drainage has always been a problem, especially when a howler blows into Metro Manila.

Sometimes, just monsoon rains, not even a strong typhoon, can send our street under water.

Of course, the flood isn’t that severe, usually just ankle-deep water. However, its run-off goes inside the houses.

We’ve always managed all those years. That was until the nearby condo rose. However, the deepest our house has been was about in heel-deep water.

In the early Eighties, our streets were raised by about a foot to upgrade the concrete pavement. I don’t recall them installing new drainage pipes then, so it must have been purely cosmetic.

However, since most of the old houses were at-grade, it meant sinking their entrances by about a foot deep.

This time around, the drainage improvement is addressing the flood that has been plaguing our neighborhood all these years.

So, a few days into September, workers started drilling holes, followed by an excavator, that opened up the street for the laying of drainage culverts. They worked on the street in sections, starting with the far end of the road.

Our house is located midway, so I figured they wouldn’t get to our part until maybe a month later.

But no. The contractor seemed to be in a hurry. By the time they started digging in front of our house, just about two weeks had passed.

However, I was surprised when I discovered they would raise the pavement by about two feet. Add that to the old street level and our house was going to sink almost three feet under. That’s about up to my belly.

No wonder the tricycle drivers at the corner advised me that someone should help me at night when I get home, because it was quite a jump from the street into our house.

I immediately sent an SOS to my uncle in Cavite to figure out what to do. So, one morning, just a day before they were going to pour concrete on our part of the street, he came and gave a look and proceeded to tell me what we needed to do.

It was all Greek to me. I just told him to do what needed to be done so that coming in and out of our house would be easy.

And so last week, the workers came and proceeded to dig up our house’s entry. Overnight, they were able to fashion steps, and by the third day, they were busy cementing over a new drainage that would send any water out into the street.

Of course, our dogs had to be kept indoors all the time as the men were working outside. They would make a racket in the morning when the workers arrived and every time their shadows passed by a window. At the end of the day, after work was done, they would be let out, and they would go exploring the construction site.

I didn’t mind the dogs sniffing around our entrance. Dogs will be dogs.

However, one morning, Jordan came rushing into the kitchen, with something in his mouth. As he reached a safe spot, he let go of it, and I could clearly hear a thud on the floor.

Did he pick up something from the digging outside, some tool the workers used, or even a pack of nails or whatever?

I came up to him and I was surprised to see him nursing a piece of rock.

Ate, Jordan picked up some stone from outside and he’s playing with it now, I yelled at my aunt.

She gave a chuckle, and exclaimed, “Jordan, ang bato!”

And one by one, the dogs went in, each with their own stash of rock from the digging.

‘Now, all we need is Darna,” she added.

So, for the past few mornings, I would go around the house picking up whatever piece of rock they picked up outside, and throwing them out. Who knows? We might step on one, and we’d find ourselves in an accident, rather than exclaiming “Darna!”

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