Solo nurture

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By Erma M. Cuizon

Sun.Star Essay

Saturday, August 2, 2014


A FEW days ago, I went to the south bus terminal to meet a couple of young women from Tanjay City in Negros Oriental who have arrived for a house job as helpers.

They had walked away from the terminal grounds to a nearby building, as one of them told me through the mobile phone, for they insisted on walking to be guided only with the help of passersby who’d know where Sun.Star Cebu office was, where I would wait for them.
The young women showed guts and determination on working away from home, to earn for the loved ones left in Tanjay. I had to tell them to stop where they were until I’d reach the area, for me to pick them up, and safely.

Earlier, when the two rode the bus from Tanjay to Dumaguete, then crossed the sea distance between Dumaguete and the Cebu south seaport in Samboan, they knew they were in a new experience. Analyn, 19, looked like she traveled for about five hours in a daze from Tanjay to Cebu City when she said they left Tanjay in the morning at 8 o’clock on a bus and a RORO ferry and arrived in the Cebu south terminal at almost 4 p.m.

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This was the first time they set foot in Cebu but they dared travel that far in their life because they need the job.

Rubelyn, 19, and Analyn are teeners who are neighbors and relatives of a former kasambahay of mine who worked in the house for about five years until she got married. Now looking after her baby in her hometown in Negros Oriental while her husband works in Saudi, she still updates herself on my need for kasambahays and I trust her to know who to pick as the helpers I need today. It was on her instance that the two women traveled far. Then I learned something familiar—that Analyn left a baby in Tanjay to the care of her mother.

I keep reminded of the sad fact that there are many househelps who are mothers but not wives, working to feed and nurture in total a child or the children. One househelper with me has five children she goes home to visit for a day in a month in Pinamungajan since there’s no father around to make them feel home.

There was a time when I had helpers from Bohol, all of them in my experience also good household workers, three of them with children left home to the old family or to relatives as they work far in neighboring provinces to earn.

Of the Solo Parents’ Welfare Act of 2000, the parenting count of sole mothers means the mother in a count of children left behind on the death of a partner, or as result of abuse, or divorce in some societies, or in cases of adoption by a single foster parent. The quiet solo nurture story, as kasambahay Ever puts, is different as it’s the result of lived-in conditions where the male parent can simply step down and leave one evening after a drinking session, to begin another life away from the last one.

What struck me in the stories over television in an old show entitled Face to Face, the accounts were mostly about problems in the family, and about lived-in couples who could break up at a drop of a hat.
In a 1960 U.S. census when 9 percent of children were nurtured by a single parent, the number of solo parents rose to 28 percent in 2000, the increase being seen in the case of lived-in relationships. In
2010, the births rose to 40.7 percent, mostly with the mother as solo parent.

Under the belief that the woman would responsibly stand up to the growth of the child for life-giving acts of feeding and rearing the adolescent who badly needs a family, the solo mothers outnumber the fathers.

But the important thing is for the community to see what kind of children these lonely, parentless babies grow up to. They’d have to deal with the moment when they would have to prepare to meet the absent parent within the lifetime.

***

(ecuizon@gmail.com)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 03, 2014.

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