People have stories to tell. And those who open up their stories have the opportunity to be heard and to inspire. But some folks are done talking. Sometimes it's way easy to keep our stories private. There's some sanctity in that. There also times that we are willing to share only to people who we knew have the tolerance to understand everything that we've been through.
I am grateful to people who have shared their stories with me. Their life changing stories have become part of my consciousness. Learning from the experience of others. Experiencing the thrill, the downfall and the moment of redemption without the need to go through it all.
In this article I want to talk about my workmate John. John is an outspoken lively person. Always up to crack catchy jokes. And so people in the office likes him. I met John in out training in one of the BPO companies I worked for.Like I mentioned he is a happy person, smiles a lot and soft spoken. Little did we know that this gentle fellow have endured a tough life. Until he shared his life story with us.John is a talker and when he talks, you listen. Not that you're obliged but because there's some interest that triggers curiosity whenever he start a conversation. We were in training still, so we have enough extra time to get to know each other.
John is a member of the LGBT group. When he was younger in his college days. His admitted his preference to his family. But his father couldn't at that time, had smacked unconscious straight to his face. This prompted him to feel unloved and got him rebellious. In the Philippines, though homosexuality is tolerated by most of the population, it is still against the pride of father. Not that I blame John's father, it was in fact a normal reaction. Instead of talking it out, John ran away from home. Grabbed some clothes, documents,and personal effects including the stash of money he had saved for a while. John is from Iligan City in Mindanao Philippines.And so without hesitation bought a ticket to go to Mega City Manila, in the national capital region of the country.
That was the first time John traveled to Manila. Coming from Mindanao, his first language is Bisaya, so speaking in Tagalog or what they now call Filipino language is quite challenging.He speaks English better than Tagalog. John arrived in Manila not knowing where to stay, and who to contact. And so he stayed in the streets of the big city. He had money left from all the travel expenses but it slowly dried out until he had nothing in the pocket left any longer. Finding a job wasn't easy for a young man who had no experience, who got nor roof to stay and no money to process requirements. And so he was left wandering the streets of Manila.
When John was telling us his life story I could see a loneliness and pain in his eyes. I'm not sure but if I had that experience I would feel that way. He pauses every now and then by taking a sip of water from his mineral tumbler.
He begged money for food. He had made friends with other beggars in the street. Begging is like any other business, you need to have your own turf or you should join a group of beggars or else you would be kicked or might not survived in the street. Food was scarce and most of the time he would settle with one bite of biscuit or "pan de sal" , a certain kind of bread he can afford with his earnings from begging. And some left over food in the garbage can near a fast food chain. Even though he's gay he acted straight. He had to, life's already harsh much more if acted lame and soft. He adapted to the environment. Whenever there's a need to go to a comfort room he had to piss on the side walk. But when it's time take a dump he'd have to pay five pesos to use a comfort room in the nearest building. The problem with no roof in the head is when it's raining. Sometimes he had to take a quick nap by standing in the edge of a gutter of a building. This wasn't always the case, security guards hated beggars and so when it rains either you're in the gutter or you're crunching your fingers tight wherever there's shed available.
Taking a shower in the nearby comfort room costs 50 pesos or 1 dollar. So seldom does he take shower. One day, he can't take the humiliation anymore, self pity had open his emotional distress. Regrets of running away from home and other regrets had flushed his tears out. He decided to at least try to make something out of his current misery. That day he had a quick one dollar shower, and wore a not smelly clothes. He was walking down the same street near the fast food establishment. There he saw a sign, "Hiring Dishwasher". The guard seeing him sho him away, as the guard knows he is one of the beggars in the streets. Only then did the guard stopped when the supervisory came out and asked John what's going on. With boldness he asked if he could take that job posted in the window of the store. He continued talking, spouting some English words here and there as if selling himself for auction, which amazed the supervisor. To him that moment could be the moment of redemption. The supervisor was very nice, and asked if John have all credentials available.John had few documents but incomplete, the supervisor then told John to comply it by tomorrow.
That was the start of John's journey into employment. The next day John got the job as Dishwasher.
In our lives we make decisions without weighing the consequences first. Bad decisions can pull us into the abyss. It is only when we see and accept our fault that we can push ourselves back towards we left off.
@PajeeBear at Cent.co is one and the same @PajeeBear at Publish0x