When we conducted the census, we have to interview the children and their parents as to where they are going to school or why are they not in school. Every answer is different from the other but it sure does give only one reason and that is poverty. Some children had to work so that they can feed themselves while some are helping their parents. I remember last week when we interviewed two children aging 14 and 16 respectively, the young boy said that he only went to school up to third grade. When we convinced him to go back to school, his elder sister interrupted us by saying that he cannot go back to school because no one would help her in making nipa huts to sell so that they can support their younger siblings. Their parents died and they are forced to make a living for their family. I wondered where the social welfare service of the government is; those children are in need of their help and guidance. However, upon giving much effort in convincing them to go back to school, they told us that they will try but they will be absent from class often because they have to work.
Seeing people like them makes me feel fortunate with my life and it inspires me to be of service to them and give my best in teaching them to read and write. This morning, we went to a far out community to do our recruitment and survey. The area was obviously very far that we had to cross swampy areas in order for us to reach out to the homes of the people. Albeit is was hard, so hard that I actually cursed my job while crossing that swampy and muddy area, listening to the people’s stories will make you realize why they are hesitant to go to school. There was only a minimal means of transportation and the fare that you have to pay is twice as expensive as to that of the regular fare. And the livelihood of the people there is very inadequate to get by day by day. Nevertheless, we still convinced them to sacrifice and send their children to school. Now I realize why our parents say that the only legacy that they can give us is our education and that is priceless.
Every day is a sacrifice. Every day is a struggle. Every day is toil. Even so, each new day is a sign hope. It is about desire and ambition. Everything should be treated with optimism. And then we will be okay.