Visit Number 24

His name is Mark. John Mark Villanueva.

So far, I already met three of ‘him’ this year. Let me introduce them to you.

The first was the hyperactive Mark. He would roll and crawl on the floor, shout until I reprimand him not to, and run on the desks. He would sit near the board to participate during recitations by shouting the answer even if I would tell him n times to raise his hand. This Mark would not wait; he would do a thing whenever he wanted to.

The second was the obedient Mark. He would stay on his seat, or sit on an empty chair to listen. He would raise his hand to volunteer to clean the room, and he would wait until he was called. This Mark knew how to wait.

The third was the hateful Mark. He would not want to go inside the room, and he’d go to  his sister’s classroom or just go back to their house. He would not participate at all, and he would cry for a simple nudge or a tap.

The first and second appears at least two times in a week, and the third one appears at least once every month.

And yep, in different days.

That was the first thing I wanted to confirm with Mark’s parents. Although I almost forgot about it because of the travel; Mark’s house was the farthest. I was almost near Philcoa!

We rode a jeep for 10-15 minutes, crossed a bridge and walked. Why then in Commonwealth?

“Kamusta ho si John Mark dito sa bahay?”

“Pasaway ho minsan, pero maaasahan ko po yan dito sa bahay.” his mother replied, “Nga lang ho nag-aalala ako kasi sumpungin pag dating sa pera.”

“Minsan nga ho ganon si Mark. Minsan sobrang gulo, minsan okay naman.”
“Naalala niyo ho noong ayaw niya pumasok tapos pumunta sa ate niya? Kasi ho sinusumpong yan. Mga magulang ko kasi nagpalaki dyan. Eh nung nawala sila, minsan sinusumpong, natatakot. Ayaw niya mawala yung mga taong nag-aalaga sa kanya.”

Now I get it.

According to Mark’s mother, Mark was under his grandparents’ care for five years. When they died two years ago, he began to ‘ask’ for the same level of care they had given.

“Minsan ho kapag naaalala niya yung lolo at lola niya, sinusumpong siya. Ayaw niya pumasok. Gusto niya katabi niya yung ate niya.”
“Ah kaya po pala… Ano ho palang trabaho niyo?”
“Ay dito lang ho ako sa bahay. Asawa ko po messenger pero dalawang buwan na ho walang trabaho.”
“Nakakaraos naman ho?”
“Oho eh may mga tiyahin naman ho ako na namimigay din sa amin. May tawag din ho asawa ko sa agency niya bukas.”
“Paano ho itong mga bata?”
“May lolo-lolohan din ho sila na nakatira dito. Eh spoiled po lalo na siya doon. Siya po yung nagbibigay ng baon niya.”
“Oo nga po minsan si Mark yung nakakarami ng soup. Pagbibili siya minsan lima! Nagugulat ako.”
“Ayun nga ho minsan fifty pesos ang binibigay ng lolo-lolohan niya. Nga lang hindi magastos si Mark, at ayaw niyang nalalamangan sa pera. Kaya din siya nagagalit kapag nabibigyan yung ate niya tapos siya hindi. Minsan pagdating ng lolo-lolohan niya bibigyan siya ng pera ‘o maghugas ka ng pinggan Mark’ tapos ibebenta pa niya yung mga natirang isda.”
“Si John Mark ho?”
“Oho nilalako niya yung mga isda diyan.”

I was worried. Rewards are good, but too much of everything isn’t.

“Mark dapat marunong kang magtipid.” I told him. He smiled as a reply.

“Ay bakit ho nga pala sa Commonwealth? Nagulat po ako kasi ang layo ng byinahe namin.”
“Eh kasi po isang sakay lang. Nag-aalala po kasi ako pag umuulan. Eh jan sa Old Balara, isang lakad nga lang pero malayo naman. Eh jan sa Commonwealth isang sakay lang ho eskwelahan na, pagbaba, ganon rin ho.”

“Ah kaya po pala,” I nodded, “Hmm… Sa school naman ho minsan okay minsan hindi. Wala naman ho masyadong problema sa kanya, kailangan lang magsipag kasi minsan hindi siya kumokopya.”
“Kapag sinusumpong ho talaga ayaw niya gumawa.”
“Oo nga ho.”

I looked at Mark for the last time before I went and told him to save money for his future.

“Kapag lumaki ka na, malalaman mo din yung sinasabi ko.”

I laughed at my mind. I sounded like my mom.

This is what I like about home visits; I get to know my students more… More than what they can actually write in a 1/4 index card.

Student number 24, check.

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