I already told you before that I live in a non-opulent neighborhood. Barefoot, half naked kids with snot on their face brim the streets, while the adults are playing bingo, tong-its, gossiping if not getting drunk, sniffing shabu or in a brawl exposing each clan's darkest secrets. I've seen my then playmates or used to be middle class neighbors (whom we look up to then as wow!) waste their life away. I'm so sick and tired of this scene that I just look ahead when I walk my way home. How do you break the cycle of poverty, at least in our forsaken community?
As I was taking a bath earlier, overhearing a mom spanking her child in between cursing the poor kid, an idea bubbled in my head. We've always said begin with the child while they're young. But then nobody closer to the child has more influence and power to the kid than the mother. What if we begin educating these ill-prepared mothers on how a mother should be? You know, like be caring, patient and simply be loving. No one would benefit the most than their children.
What if I can coach the mothers that it is not right to curse to their kid nor hurt them as a form of discipline? I'm a living testament to this because that's the way I've been "disciplined/raised".
That if they do well with their kids, they have far better chance of surviving from their quagmire. That whatever frustration they have with their good for nothing spouses, they can never go wrong if they protect and support their children.
I have no grand plans of running for local office, but I do want to reach out to the largely marginalized sectors of our community, the children (the very young ones) and the mothers. I'd like to talk to them and understand their pain. Our houses are divided by walls of indifference and callousness. I hear the muffled cries, the beatings and the acts of oppression. I'm amazed that I can still sleep amid that "noise".
I do help select kids in my neighborhood, those who really sweat it out and who inspire me with their will to survive. Here are two. :)
Boy1 was on his last year on college (degree on architecture) at a public school, Technological Institute of the Philippines (TIP). He has I think 7 siblings and he self supports himself. He walks his way to school (that's like the whole stretch from SM North to Megamall, if my estimate is correct). He doesn't eat in school and takes part time jobs. I gave him tuition for his summer class last year and also gave some financial support. He just graduated this year. Yey! :) I'm now inquiring on the cost of his board review because I think he has better employment chance if he's a licensed architect already. His older brother by the way, I'm proud to say, graduated from UP. A smart kid whom I coached in entering UP. He now works for Dept. of Education and will fly to Sweden next week for a two-week summit. Hoot! Hoot! :) I'm trying to teach that kid about finance management now.
A very sweet girl is our tenant (their family). She is a second child on a brood of four. She's already 10yrs old but only grade2 because she had to stop. She's in the top ten of her class, dutifully wakes up early to sweep the street front of their rented house, takes care of her younger brother and sister. She doesn’t go out to play as her playtime is used on making rags as extra income to the family. She's always polite, greets me good morning whenever she sees me, smiles a lot as if there's nothing wrong in her situation. Such a sunny, bright young girl. Last year, she was saving up to be able to attend their school's Christmas Party which costs P200 for each child. It's the contribution for the food, games, etc. She was only able to save P100. Thus I learned too late from my mom that she didn’t attend the party because of that. It broke my heart. Had I known sooner, I could have easily helped her. So on Christmas, bought her shoes and also her younger brother. This June, I'm planning surprise her and support her school needs this year. She's going to a nearby public school so it won't be that costly. I adore that young, optimistic girl.
Now, if only I can get to the mothers. Kids are more open and easy to be with. Mothers, with their jaded stance, cynical mood and killer instinct, I have apprehensions. But I will try, one mother at a time. Good luck to me! :) Happy Mother's Day! :)