Story #2: An unexpected destiny
"The EdM family had helped me open my eyes to many chances and make me believe that dreams are for real."
Dumaguete, June 20, 2012,
Good evening everyone. I am here in front of you to share my experiences in life which I cannot easily forget of who I was- before I met and encountered EDM Scholarship program for it leaves an indelible mark in my heart.
We all know that life is not easy – a lot of emotions were felt; happiness, laughers, joys, smiles and even sadness, worries, confusions and many more. I’m pretty sure that all of us here experience all that I mentioned.
My experience while I was studying from elementary to highschool is not that easy. I was studying every night with a little lamp which stays longer if there is enough gas inside of it.
At age of 8, 4 o’clock in the morning – I woke up and start doing my assigned household chores; washing plates, help my older sister cook the food, fetch water and arrange the bed.
Sometimes, I went to school without taking my breakfast when no food to cook in the morning. I left the house without even a single cent in my pocket. I had always observed that during recess time, when the bell rang - I found myself left in the classroom. My classmates were then very excited to go out and buy their favorite snacks.
Our classes ended up 5 o’clock in the afternoon. When I arrived home, household chores were waiting for me. I tried my best to be able to go home before sunset. This is because at night – it’s very dark in our house. We don’t have electricity and I have to work with the little lamp which found me difficult to finish my work. Oftentimes, the gas in our little lamp was emptied but I still have to study. What I usually did before is I burnt coconut leaves near our dirty kitchen and served it as my light to be able to study. I almost burnt my notebook because part of the fire fell upon my papers. Sometimes, I slept alone in our house because my younger siblings were at my grandparents’ home.
That situation of mine lasted until my 4th year in highschool. When we don’t have gas and coconut leaves, during long exams like midterm and final examinations, I went near to our neighborhood’s house and study outside where the light of the flourescent could reach and light me. I felt ashamed if I asked them to let me stay in their balcony until 1 o’clock in the morning for they might be disturbed. I felt sad if sometimes they will switch off their lights because I could not study.
Before I ended my elementary years, I never planned of continuing my highshool years because I knew that SPA-R is a private school and expected that the tuition fee is higher and if I will study at PNHS – one of the public schools in Valencia, it’s quite far and my problem would be my daily transportation in going back and forth.
But God changed my expectations. If I wasn’t mistaken, it was last January 2005 when some of the grade 6 students including me were called in the principal’s office. My heart beats very fast – as we entered the office, our school principal told us to fill up a form – specifically about our personal and familly background and we’re asked to provide a 2x2 picture. I submitted all the requirements patiently without knowing what the purpose of making it.
During our graduation, Maam Susan and Sir Caldoza approached us and informed us that we will be granted with a scholarship and added that it was newly introduced in the school. They visited me with my family in our house and discovered many things about our life. I have felt that they were very much eager to help poor children like me. I am very much happy after all those things happened. I realized I could proceed to highschool.
When I reached highschool, I don’t have the school uniform being required. I felt worried about it. First year students were only given I month chance to wear civilian clothes and after that, we must wear the school uniform.
My parents could not provide me new set of uniform because it’s quite expensive so I used the old uniform of my older sisters. I was very stout before. The uniform doesn’t fit me perfectly therefore I have to sew it again. I wished and prayed to have new one.
At school, I preferred staying in our classroom because my uniforms were thinning and thread bare. My classmates might criticize me, I thought.
A couple of months past, maam Susan called our attention, she told us that the EDM Scholarship will provide set of uniform including socks and shoes. I am very happy after hearing that news and haven’t notice that my tears fell down because of great happiness.
I am very lucky to have the scholarship. I used that uniform until 4th year – I did not grew fast to become tall nor get fat, that’s why It still fits me for 4 years. I never felt worried anymore.
Though, I am studying with the little lamp in our house, during my highschool years, I still received awards: a 4th honor in my first year and 1st honors in my 2nd, 3rd and 4thyears. Sometimes, I even heard rumors from our neighbors. They questioned their children why I received those rewards. And yet we don’t enough food to eat every day, that we don’t have electricity, and that my parents were not at my side to guide me. I never pay attention to their feedback. Instead I continued my habit being studious and I never forget praying God.
My neighbors used to give comments about me and my family. They even said that we could not finish our studies, that we will be married at an early age, that we don’t have the good future because my parents don’t have permanent work. My father has known as the famous drunkard in our place and my mother did some laundry and ironing to her friend’s house. It was the only thing we relied upon to be able to eat.
Maam Susan told us that if we have the good remarks in our overall performance, may be the EDM sponsors were going to continue their support and send us to the tertiary level of education. We, the EDM Scholars tried our very best to be on top and did received awards during our graduation.
With the help of Maam Susan, Sir Caldoza and the EDM volunteers – we were able to proceed in college, to be able to have a degree, stay in the boarding house, free food and ventilations. I am very thankful about it. Until now, the EDM center embraced me. How wonderful! I never expect that I will arrive here. The EDM Program never hesitates to help us especially me. I will never be here if it was not made by God with a purpose. I will never get tired of thanking God for sending all the stakeholders of EDM to be the instruments for me to be able to pursue my dreams.
To be able to finish my studies – through all the support that the EDM family provide me, with the benefactors, the donors, the volunteers and all the people behind this scholarship who had the big hearts - - -here I am standing in front of you, full of joy in my heart, gradually fulfilling my ambitions in life. Thank You So much.
I know that saying thank you is not enough to express my gratitude to the kindhearted EDM family. I could just return what I have received from this scholarship if someday I will be able also to help those hopeless and needy people like me. Thank you so much.
NDR: Then Enfants du Mékong went on supporting her for her study in college (4 years) and she graduated in Business Administration. She found a job as a cashier for Hyundaï.