LOVE AND SACRIFICE KEEP OUR FAMILY TOGETHER
THROUGH FINANCIAL AND EMOTIONAL CRISIS
By Kevin G. Lopez
We were living a great life as kids, although, we did not get whatever toys we wanted or whatever food we wanted to eat, most of the time. Our father used to work in Saudi Arabia, after a few years of which, he found an opportunity to bring us to the Middle East to live with him… in an apartment, though, not quite big. We lived a life most people would dream of. We weren’t rich but the cost of living there was not as expensive compared to that in the Philippines. For instance, a bar of chocolate, say Lindt, cost an equivalent of around Php150+ while in the Philippines, the said candy could cost much more.
Anyway, going back to the track, we lived in Saudi Arabia for about 8 years. It was a good life in the eyes of most but for me, something seemed to be missing. We got financial affluence, like having a Chevrolet Lumina car, as our dad worked in Saudi American Bank as a Senior Executive Assistant of one of the top ranking executives in the company. Basically, we seemed to be having a good life, yet, I felt there was something missing, as mentioned earlier. We lacked communication within our family. We didn’t go out a lot for bonding such as what families are doing nowadays. Sadly, at the end of the day, I realized that good life is not only about money…
After my first year in high school, we returned to the Philippines. Our father bought a condominium in Cainta where we lived until the onslaught of typhoon Undoy. We left the town and looked for an apartment in Quezon City where some of our relatives were. Unbeknownst to us, however, our transfer in Quezon City was the start of our financial debacle. We transferred from one apartment to another until we finally settled in one while setting up a business – a salon, or a unisex parlor.
At first, everybody in the family pitched in running the business, enjoying every bit of our learning how to manage it. Several years after, it was hell. Although, we tried our best in managing the business, we were just so unfortunate for having personnel who were untrustworthy. Betraying our trust, they filched from the daily earnings, to the extent of even offering their services outside the shop and keeping the payment for themselves. It was a painful experience for us. Our personnel were highly valued and trusted by our mother, but which they betrayed. They were even found to have been involved in the taking of illegal drugs, sometimes right within the salon. We were alarmed.
One of our personnel was set up for a “buy-bust operation”. He was chased by drug operatives. It was made to appear that he was selling illegal drug, although, in reality, he was just a plain user. One time, we found drug paraphernalia in the premises which they promptly threw away. They swore to my mother that they would change their ways. My mother who was kind bit the bait. She warned them, at the same time giving them a second chance. Unfortunately, in a few months, they were back to their old ways.
Several months ago, we sensed that something was being concocted by all our personnel to leave us which they did not long after. Their “mass departure” practically “killed” our business, though our initial reaction was to persist by all means. Despite our concerted effort, the business flopped, shut down and later sold, whatever was left of it.
We returned to Cainta. My parents were without jobs as they were solely dependent on the salon business. I was fortunate to have been able to be taken in by a BPO company early this year. The pay is good which enabled me to assist my parents occasionally for the needs of our family. Eventually, we started a food business which enhanced the additional income derived by my dad from driving an aunt’s car under Grabcar.
Not all things went the way we expected them, though. Months afterward, the small food business failed and to top it all, my aunt got a new driver in place of my dad who instead of being downhearted, looked for another car that he could drive. He fortunately found another which he drove under Uber. My mom meanwhile, started another food business with the money which I raised for her. My elder sister, today, is finishing a college course with the help of our relatives. Our eldest sister on the other hand studies at home under Brother Bo’s Home School program on account of her having psoriasis, and still with financial assistance from our relatives. Our parents on their part, are doing their best in generating an income to sustain our daily needs.
As a family, we have plans for the future, part of which is my pursuing a BS Criminology course next year. Such pursuit shall not affect my desire to help my parents financially, to the best I can. Currently, I am working for a Certificate as a Security and Safety Practitioner that could be helpful in satisfying a requirement for my course in the future. In that quest, I tried my best to be on top of my class, where I am now! I am also engaging in small businesses from which I derive funds for other small investments that would give security to me and my family in the future.
Our family has experienced more difficulties than what I have mentioned above, however, despite all those, we have survived. I admit that we had our share of mistakes and misunderstanding but we have been bound together by our love to each other. As a family, we were not used to having bonding moments that would make us “stick” together….but that was years ago. Today, we successfully went through the emotional trials which made us hold on to each other and the rails of security with steadfast resolve, while strengthening our foundation in this new decade that is suffused with various difficulties.
Today, at t twenty-one, I may not be directly involved in activities for the sake of our brethren on the street, but what I and my family have been through, made me realize that our life is not different from those who sleep on sidewalks. In retrospect, I realize a lot of lessons from them which make me a better person….one who has a desire to have a better perspective in life and a deeply-felt love for my parents and siblings!