More than ten years ago, when my aunt heard that I was to live in this desert town that we’ve called home for the past ten years, she warned “The hardest battle you’ll fight is against self-pity.” Young as I was back then, I didn’t give her advice a second thought. Until I was connected to a cyber world via Facebook. Suddenly, my life appeared … blase seems too strong a word. And I started comparing my life to that of my ex-workmates whose career trajectory has taken them places. Fortunately, feelings of self-pity, however, tend to go away in the noisy commotion of everyday life. When one is busy catering to a family with barely enough time in the garden, how can one have the luxury of time to indulge in self-pity?
Still, there remain hard things to do while living in a locale where a designer handbag is a de riguer prop. At the top is remaining grounded in our identity as Filipino OFWs. We come, after all, from working-class roots and, being Christians, our permanent home is a heavenly one. As I continually remind my children, they are just one generation away from the land – their grandfather being a farmer. Thus, it was a saddening reality check to read about the freshmen who camped outside Kalayaan Hall at UP Diliman to protest the lack of accommodation for them.
Compared to these students, what right have I to feel self-pity when I eat three square meals a day and have more books on my bookshelf than I have time to read?
…. Speaking of reading reminds me of education, sorry to ramble so but education is a life-changing process ….
I am a firm believer in educating girls to empower them later on in life. So many issues cry out for action today but none, I believe, has a wider impact on society than female literacy. When a girl goes to school, not only does she gain the skills to become a wage earner, she also tends to marry later, have fewer children, and make healthful decisions for her family.
When I taught in Sunday School, I got the children to participate in Sonlight’s Rice Bag Project – a partnership with Mission India Together, we learned that India has over 100 million illiterate women. Believe me, I have experience with this, having once witnessed an Indian mother at the clinic remain outside while her husband (who had taken leave from work judging by his uniform) went inside the doctor’s office with their sick child. That puzzled me no end – who better than a caregiver-mother to report on a child’s ailment? – until I learned about India’s female literacy rate.
Anyway, I Am Malala has been languishing on my TBR bookshelf for sometime but the film Girl Rising (which I haven’t watched) has made me determined more than ever to start on the autobiography. And speaking of books – Knopf in the US has published a short story collection, Mia Alvar’s In the Country: Stories which, being penned by a compatriot, has automatically gone into my wishlist.
So. With the last leg of our homeschooling journey now in plain sight, my reading companions lately have been – I’m ashamed to say this, actually – catalogues from Lakeland (which, perhaps, explains my baking drive lately) and Pandora (yes, that jewellery store).
Before I forget, the hubby’s home province was lately spared a mining operation, something for which we are thankful. Sadly, however, the rape of the Philippines’ natural resources continues unabated with children being the worst victims.