Last week, Rey D., 17, a resident and Peer Motivator in Stairway, went to Manila on a home visit. His story is a touching tale that reveals what he experienced while in the city and how it helped to put his stay in Stairway into perspective.
It’s a wonderful experience again to see my family even there is no changes in life style – still hard and poor. I stayed in the small house of my brother who has a live-in partner already together with my other brother also. So, we were four in the house which the space are not even enough for all of us. On my first day, I sent a text message to my mother that I already arrived then, after 6 hours she appeared in our place. From our conversation, I found out that she is living with someone who is jobless. This situation makes me annoyed. I had a spoken with my mother. I told her to spend her that much better for her to spend her life with her children particular to our youngest that are living in Cavite under care of our maternal grandmother. During our conversation, it seems that my mother was not interested on my views ;(. However, I took my 700.00 from my pocket and asked her to bring the money for my younger siblings in Cavite for their food which she did.
On my second day, I able to meet and hanged with my former friends. They were surprised that I knew already how to play guitar. They asked me to join them outside but I refused. I asked them that much better to stay in our house and do some music jamming. Inside of mine, I realized how lucky I am in many ways. I can play music instruments, read, paint, draw, share my skills and many more. One of my friends asked what my life in Stairway is. I told him that I had great life in Stairway because I able to study and help myself to grow as important individual. I shared many things about my experiences in Stairway but I feel somehow that there were friends of mine that were not convinced with my story and some were convinced.
On my third day, I and father talked. Somehow I feel good seeing my father’s changes – no drugs, no alcohol and no woman. He is living alone in his pad nearby to my brother’s rental house. His work as carpenter is not regular but most of the time he has work and his earnings go to his daily necessities. Again, I am happy hugging him and saying that I love him.
Day by day my friends always asked me to join with them but I keep not being with them. I know some of them feel bad and some are not. I told them that I’m good already with my guitar and books.
There is a day that my older brother asked me if I want to join with him in his work (car wash). On my mind, do I have to go or not but at end I told to myself, I have to work so that we have additional money for our food. My brother didn’t tell me that we have to work from 8:00 in the morning until next day of 7:00 in the morning. We were not allowed to have a nap. I washed 80 cars from the covered time and I received 150.00. From the amount I received, I have to pay the nearby store 70.00 for my food and the excess I used it for marketing for our food.
At that night, I was so pity to my brother. I am looking at him while sleeping who is thick and seems need a lot of time to sleep and a lot of food to eat. How do I wish, I can help him immediately. With his income it is not enough to cover the monthly rental of house and other daily expenses but this is reality of his life. I really salute on the strength that my brother has. I told to myself, there is no room of giving up. At this time, I have to help myself to develop more skills and knowledge so that I can help my family to have a good life.
In my last day, my two older brother (one has live-in partner at age of 19 and the other one newly finished his program at Onesimo) talked me seriously. They keeping on my mind to value well the opportunity that Stairway is giving to me. They are so happy and proud to me for the changes that I had but they become more proud if one of my goal is in my hand.
I see the big difference of my life in the city and in Stairway. In my family, I eaten three times with limited amount of food; no good space for sleeping; polluted place (no air, noisy, smell bad) and no time for communication because people are occupied to work for their daily basic needs. My life in Stairway is so great but I admitted that there are times that I take this for granted but now this will be no rood and I will value this more than of my life because living in Stairway is a great opportunity that one day I become somebody because I have full support and trust from my Stairway family.