Hurdling the years of studies-A A +A
Sunday, March 17, 2013
Education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember from time to time that nothing worth knowing can be taught. – Oscar Wilde, “The Critic as Artist,” 1890
MARCH is here and millions of young people in the country rejoice because the years and thousands of pesos spent inside the universities and colleges will finally come to an end.
Students from different walks of life are purely ecstatic for hurdling college regardless of the many ways they did it.
These students capped and gowned will march the graduation aisle full of hope and anxiety as universities and colleges in the city will hold their graduation rites this week.
Hurdling college comes in many forms. Others may be fortunate for having parents who could afford all their needs while others may not be as lucky as they are.
Glenda Pahuyo is one of the millions of these fresh graduates, and her graduation is a hallmark of love, vision, and tenacity. She is going to get a diploma, but beyond education she learned that the values her parents showed them are more significant and practical. It will bring her strength as she begins to chart her career opportunities.
It took her nine years before she could finally leave the portals of Xavier University with a degree in Bachelor of Science in Psychology. Despite the failing health and financial woes, she persisted in order to achieve that one goal she has been holding dear – the graduation. Getting a degree is the gift she can give back to her parents who have been toiling so hard to provide for her and her siblings.
“Wala’y kabutangan sa akong kalipay nga mo-graduate ko. Nakab-ot gyud nako ang butang nga mao’y gipangandoy nako ug labi na jud ni Papa nga naglaum nga makahuman mi tanan ug college. My father would only want us to get education and provide us everything that life denied him,” Glenda said as tears rolled down her cheeks.
Blind with a clear vision
The Pahuyo family lives in a squatter’s area in barangay Macanhan here. “Whenever I went out to go to school, people stared at me because I wore an XU uniform, but I ignored the stares,” she told Sun.Star CDO in an interview on Friday.
Glenda’s father is Roberto, 67. Bert is blind. He lost his vision when he was three years old. Most Kagay-anons know him as ‘Bert the sweepstakes seller.’ He went around the city selling sweepstakes in his younger years. Now, he sells peanuts as lotto replaces sweepstakes. Her mother, Arcelie, is a street sweeper who is afflicted with polio.
Despite the meager income, Bert managed to buy college education plans for his children when his sweepstakes earning was in its peak. But the plans weren’t enough especially when one of the companies selling an educational plan went bankrupt.
Glenda disclosed the many pains she went through as her father had been treated like a beggar countless times. There was a time when Bert and his son wanted to buy snacks at one of the food chains in the city, but the guard shooed them away since begging is prohibited. And so, they went to the other chain where they felt so welcomed and bought their first burger.
“But my father never begs. He would tell the people who attempted to give him money to buy his sweepstakes instead. He never would want to shame us. He always wants to work for the money that he earns. There has never been a moment in my life that I am ashamed of my parents nor I questioned them because I saw how decently they have provided our needs.”
Glenda’s father met many friends in the streets including powerful and influential people in the city. His dedication to provide for his family made him earn their respect.
And these people have been instrumental to Glenda’s college graduation.
One of his father’s sweepstakes “suki”, a regular customer, named Delia promised him that she’d send his eldest child to school when she’d get to the United States. Years later, Delia requested a friend here to locate Bert and his family, so she could fulfil her promise.
“Papa didn’t expect that Ma’am Delia would be true to her promise. I had a cyst surgery in my breast that compelled me to stop studying. I thought I could no longer finish college. Then, one day, the friend of Ma’am Delia finally found my mother,” Glenda narrated.
Glenda wanted to take up a short course at that time, but Delia insisted she should take up a degree program.
For two years, Delia spent everything for Glenda ranging from her allowance, school fees to books. Until one day, they got a message that Delia got injured and couldn’t work.
“I thought that was it. I could never finish my studies. But my mother said I had to continue. “So nag loan sila the following semester kay one year na lang and mahuman nako. Good enough my brother was in Qatar, so he sent us money for food. Then, my brother came home last year during the last semester of my stay at school. My parents said they could no longer afford it that I have to stop for a while.” She said.
Glenda felt life was so unfair. She was almost near her goal, yet, it seemed to get elusive. She prayed.
Some of his father’s friends learned about the situation. They worked together to solve the problem. Then, finally one of them approached Xavier University which granted Glenda a scholarship.
“At the moment when I felt the odds were in my favor, blessings dropped on my lap. Another friend of my father even paid for my yearbook. I didn’t spend a centavo in this last semester at school,” she proudly told Sun.Star CDO.
Glenda said her educational saga manifested God’s promise to take care of His people.
“God truly provides where there is contentment. Our family is contented with what we have. When Sendong struck us, we remained resilient,” she said.
As her graduation nears, Glenda told her parents that they should attend the tribute and the graduation. Both declined, but her insistence compelled them.
“Dili sila muadto kay maulaw sila. Ingon pud ko nga dili ko mo-march kung dili sila muadto. Now I see that they’re more excited than I am,” she smiled.
Lenjie hurdles high school amid the emotional turmoil and psychological baggage. As a teenager she is supposed to enjoy high school thrills, crushes, and girl stuff.
In the next few days, she will march at the graduation rites of Misamis Oriental General Comprehensive High School.
Life has not been quite easy on Lenjie. Her parents broke up and abandoned her and her younger brother. The situation compelled them to seek shelter in a relative. Her aunt could barely afford to send them to school.
Lenjie’s mother left her father for another man after she could no longer bear the battery.
Her younger brother graduated in the elementary with honors last year. His brother now lives with his father, but he stopped going to school.
“Maulaw man pod ko kung dili ko molihok ug motabang sa mga buhaton sa balay bisan sa ginagmay na lang nga paagi makabalos ko sa ilang kaayo,” Lenjie said.
“Often times, I wish I am one of my aunt’s children in order to feel the love and care of a mother,” she said in vernacular.
Sometimes, she would go around the city, and roam aimlessly to escape the pain of being abandoned and unloved.
“Tuyoon man nako para makasab-an ko arun mabati dayon nako nga naa diay nag-pangga nako. Swerte ko kay giatiman mi sa akong auntie. Nindot man gyud unta nga naa ako mama ug papa aron mouban nako sa akong pagpaso pero lisod na man gyud sila mag-uban ug magkita pa,” she said.
Lenjie is one of the more than 2,000 graduating students at MOGCHS. She hopes to find a scholarship to pursue college this school year.
Glenda and Lenjie’s narratives are different, but their life stories teach them hope. (Abigail Chee Kee Malalis)
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on March 17, 2013.