I had colds that day, but I decided to continue my visit. Eventually, my colds became flu that was why I had to postpone my next two visits (and this blog as well).
His name is John Mark. John Mark Cuasito. I call him John since there are two John Mark’s in the classroom. He’s really good in recitation and oral exams, but his test scores show otherwise.
“Ayun si mama!” He shouted when we were on the bridge.
“Ma’am,” I said as I approached his mother, “Bibisita ho ako ha.”
John Mark was actually in front of us like he was leading the way.
“Ma’am, malayo ah.” He told me, “Malayo lalakarin natin.”
“Basta po malayo.”
“Ay ma’am,” His mother said, “Pupunta ho kayo sa amin?”
“Oho, okay lang ho ba?” I realized that she did not get it when I told her that I would visit.
“Okay lang ho. Pero mahaba, mag tricycle na lang ho tayo.”
The roads were better than the first two visits I had. Looking at the houses, I knew it was a subdivision.
The fare was Php 20.00. I was about to open my wallet when his mother stopped me and said she would pay. I told her that it was okay, but she insisted.
It was a short travel from where we were dropped by the tricycle. In the middle of two medium-sized houses was an eskinita where we walked. The walls almost touched my shoulders. There I saw smaller houses; one of them was theirs.
There was one bedroom where five of them (four children, one mother) slept. There were educational posters pinned on the walls that made me happy. News was flashed on the tv; Dishes were organized.
“Ma’am pasensya na ho ha. Mahina ho talaga si John Mark sa English.”
“Magaling ho si John Mark sa recitation ma’am. Isa ho siya sa mga laging nagrerecite. Kailangan lang ho talaga ng mas maraming practice pag nag e-exam.”
She kept on apologizing, but I told her it was fine. It was my role to make him learn more.
“Kung di niyo ho mamasamain, Asan ho si mister?”
“Ay kakaalis lang ho. Nasa Saudi. Mag-one year na.”
“Ano hong trabaho niya don?”
“Nag-aayos ho ng salamin sa bintana. Pintor ho ngayon pero ganon na lang yung pinasukan niya. 10,000 lang ho yung nasasahod niya kada buwan.”
My eyebrows met. I could not grasp what she just said.
“Yun nga po nagpapadala ho siya ng 7 minsan 4. Depende ho. Dati ho, may mga buwan na wala ho siyang sinasahod. Sobrang hirap ho.”
While she was telling me that, I was a bit ashamed of myself. His father made me realize that there were things to thank more than to complain.
I salute him with all my heart.
As we walked towards the highway where Philcoa jeeps passed by, she told me how hard it was to save the allowance that her husband was giving them.
“Lalo na po yung high school kong babae. Ang dami niyang project. Computer, puro research. Ang hirap po. Pero salamat ho sa Diyos, nakakatawid din.”
There is something to be sad of, but there is something to hope for. There are more people to admire than you could ever think. You don’t have to wear their shoes, but you have to see them and care about it.
And again, there are more things to thank than to complain.
Reality, it hurts.
Student number 3, check.