MANILA — Paralyzed from waist down due to polio since age 10, Jess M. Sales, now 52, is unfazed of his health condition and continues to earn a living by making rosary beads and selling them himself by traveling 10 kilometers from Quezon City to Quiapo Church in Manila on wheelchair three times a week, skirting his way in the maze of Metro Manila’s horrendous traffic.
“It is my way of earning my living as I don’t want to beg,” Sales said in Tagalog in a chance interview with this writer outside the San Nicolas de Tolentino Catholic Church in Barangay Toro, Quezon City, his alternate selling station every Sunday.
He says he can assemble as many as 50 to 100 rosary beads a day, and sells them at PHP10 each.
Sales said he loves his work despite the risk he has to face every time he travels to Quiapo from his home near the Commonwealth Market in Quezon City, a distance of about 10 kilometers.
“Yes, it is very dangerous traveling the route, so I have to be extra careful not to be sideswiped or run over by speeding vehicles,” he said.
“In fact, I had one harrowing experience in 2010 that I thought I would die when a car hit me. The next time I knew I was in the hospital with a wound on my head,” Sales said, showing his head operation.
But despite all the lurking dangers every time he travels on his wheelchair, cruising the busy streets in Quezon City and Manila, Sales said he has to do it because “it’s my way of living as I don’t want to beg.”
His faith in God for protection is unquestionable.Sales said he was stricken with polio at age 10 and when his parents brought him to the hospital, the doctors told them that there was no way he could be cured.
He accepted his fate of being unable to walk but refused to bog down in the rigors of life as a polio victim and work his way to earn a decent living.
Sales recalled that it was Sister Valeriana, the founder of Tahanang Walang Hagdan (House Without Stairs), who brought him from his hometown in Cebu to Manila in 1980.
Living with Sales in a modest home in Quezon City are nine other polio victims who also earn their living either as watch repairers or selling rosary beads like him, or peddling house rugs on wheelchairs in the streets of Metro Manila. Ben Cal/PNA/northboundasia.com