National Geographic : 1963 Dec
KODACHROME( NATIONAL GEOGRAI Hospitable tower in a HONG KC tide of humanity, the Bon ham Road hostel offers rooms to the Crown Colony ing girls as well as 24 small apartments for use by The Hong Kong YW has been helping immi grant families for 43 years, I was told by Mrs. S. K. Sung, its president. But never has it faced such an influx as in the past few years. We climbed dark stairs to the top floor of a building in the teeming slums of the North Point section on King's Road. Here a YWCA 912 center provides economical bed and board for girls, most of them refugees, who work in the city's textile mills and myriad small factories. "These girls earn only about $20 a month," Mrs. Ellen Li, the YW vice president, explained. "Most have no family. When we get rice from CARE, we can offer meals for about ten cents a day." Help for Working Mothers The Kowloon side of the Crown Colony is the most crowded. For thousands of families, home is only a few packing cases pulled togeth er or a space behind an advertising billboard. Here the YWCA has established play centers and nurs ery schools for children of working mothers. At the Maureen Grantham Cen tre, one of 19 YW installations in Hong Kong, the children were getting their daily baths. "Half of our 160 children are boarded by the week," said Ellen Li. "Some are from parents who have no regular home. They take the children only for visits on the weekend and leave them with us the rest of the week." On our final evening in Hong Kong, we saw another side of the city. We dined in fairyland ele gance at one of the floating restau rants of Aberdeen. This crowded village of fishermen is also a home of the water people, who dwell on junks and sampans moored in a tight logjam of humanity. We were rowed out to the res taurant in a sampan by a mother daughter team. During working .'HIC SoIE. hours their sampan is a water )NG taxi, at other times a home. N We ate a delicious dinner of I's work- fried prawns and crab claws, sea families. food soup, and red snapper. Then our sampan women rowed us back across a sea dyed lavender, green, and scarlet by the city's neon lights. Black storm clouds were gathering as our plane landed at Manila in the Philippines. But the weather could not dampen our welcome. We were surrounded by dozens of new friends who draped flower leis around our shoulders.