Everyone of us have different life experiences growing up. Here’s mine:
I can say that if not with my determination to finish school, I won’t be able to find a good job. And if I did not have a good job, I won’t be able to help provide for my family’s daily needs. I am the eldest of four in the family. In the Filipino tradition, the eldest child looks after his or her younger siblings and is also responsible for the welfare of the whole family besides the parents.
Came from a family who lived in poverty, I motivated myself to pursue my studies and dreamed of someday I will be able to help my parents provide for the family. I won’t forget those times when I had to go to school wearing a pair of overly beaten shoes – mid-sole cracked with an old pair of white-turned-beige socks – with 2 pesos in my pocket for recess. In the province, it’s a whole-day class and we had to go home for lunch (some students had packed lunch) and come back at 1 P.M. for the afternoon classes.
On Saturdays, I work in one of the grocery stores in the market in town as extra helper. If grocery stores have enough helpers, I work as a dishwasher in a small canteen at the market. And when there’s no available spot in the canteen, my friend and neighbor will take me with him to work for an elementary teacher as a weekend helper at her house – doing the dishes, laundry, grating cassava for cassava cakes she makes to sell in school, tidying up clothes and ironing – in short, weekend housemaid. Earning 30 Pesos (less than a dollar of today’s conversion) for the whole day’s work in the grocery store or in a canteen or at the teacher’s house, I can buy a sachet of toothpaste, a small bar of bath soap, two sachets of shampoo, and a few school supplies. The rest I had to share with my sister who is in grade school at that time. My father’s earnings as a pedicab driver will provide for the food on the table. We did not have electricity and water supply. We had to do our laundry and bathing in the river.
It was a difficult life with lots of challenges. But with the help of prayers, hard work, and God’s guidance, my family and I are helping one another to overcome them.