Freeman Cebu Sports

A Christmas story

ALLEZ - ALLEZ By Jose Vicente Araneta -
(This story has been going around the cycling egroups. I don't know who wrote this but I think that this is one of the most heartwarming story this Christmas)

Ever since I was diagnosed with having a possible heart enlargement, I have tried to exercise. I do jog weekdays and mountain bike every Sunday. But this Sunday is special to me. While I was on my way to the mountains of Busay to strengthen my heart, I encountered a heart-breaking scene that changed me.

I passed the Marco Polo Plaza then I stopped to buy bananas at a carenderia along the road. I was on my second banana when I noticed two children across the street busily searching the garbage area. "Basureros", I said to myself. I couldn't have cared less for them. You see, I have been a victim of these kinds of children who are pretending to be basureros when they're really after your 'plangganas' , 'kalderos', and 'hinayhays'. I was watching one Mike Tyson fight when I noticed that the TV screen suddenly became blurry. I checked outside and saw two young basureros running away with my new antenna. Hatred may be a strong word to describe my feelings towards these basureros, but I do not like them.

Until I met these kids.

I was about to climb on my bike when I heard one of the two children, a girl of about 8, say to a 12-year -old boy, "kuya si dodong kuha-a kay nag-sige'g tan-aw sa mga nagkaon, mauwaw t a". Only then that I noticed a small boy standing near me biting his fingernails. He's a few inches shorter compared to my 5-year-old son. Though he did not ask for food in the carenderia, the way he looked at us was enough to convince me that he was hungry. The older boy quickly crossed the street and gently tugged the little one who politely obeyed. As I watched the two crossing back the street to the garbage area, I heard the tindera saying, "Lo-oy kaayo nang mga bataa uy, mga buotan ra ba na". I learned further that the children came from a good family, working parents, until the father was paralyzed by a stroke. Probably out of grief, the mother died of heart attack while the father was at the hospital. Both were still young when this happened, and the children became basureros to fend for themselves and for their father's medication.

Deeply moved, I bought 20 pesos worth of bread, and gave it to the children who refused, including the little boy. "Sige lang noy, salamat na lang, magpalit lang nya mi kung mahalinan na mi", the young girl said to me. I explained that they need to go home because it was drizzling. "Naanad na man mi ani," the girl replied. Again, I explained that the rain can make them sick and if they'll get sick, no one will take care of their father. Upon mentioning their father, they accepted the bread. But I noticed that the older boy did not eat.

When I asked why, he smiled but as he was about to explain, the little girl, who was getting talkative, interrupted, "Domingo man gud ron 'noy, basta Sabado ug Domingo hapon ra siya mokaon kami ra ang mokaon ug pamahaw. Pero dili na pod mi mokaon inig hapon, si kuya ra. Pero basta Lunes ngadto sa Biyernes, kay klase man, si kuya ra sad ang seguro-on ug papamahaw, kami hapon na sad mi moka-on. Pero kung daghan mi ug halin mokaon mi tanan." she continued. "Ngano man diay ug mokaon mong tanan, bahinon ninyo bisan ug unsa ka gamay?," I countered. The young girl said that their father wanted the eldest to go to school with a full stomach so he can easily catch up with his lessons. "Inigka trabaho ni kuya mo undang na man mi ug pamasura, first honor baya na siya, " the little boy added proudly.

Maybe I'm just overly emotional that my tears started to fall. I then quickly turned my back to hide my tears and pretended to pick up my bike from the carenderia where I left it.

I don't know how long I was able to compose myself, pretending again to fix my bike. Finally, I got back on my bike and then bade goodbye. In turn, they cast their grateful smiles at me. I then took a good look at all of them and patted the head of the small boy with a pinch in my heart. Though I believe that their positive outlook at life could easily change their present situation, there is one thing that they can never change, that is, their being motherless. That little boy can no longer feel the sweet embrace, care, and most of all, the love of his mother. Nobody can fill the empty gap created by that sudden death of their mother. Every event that will happen in their lives will only make them wish of their mother's presence.

I handed them my last 100 -peso bill which I reserved for our department's bowling tournament. This time they refused but I jokingly told the girl, "sumbagon teka ron kung di nimo dawaton". She smiled as she extended her hand to take the money. "Salamat noy makapalit gyud me ron ug tambal ni papa," she uttered. I then turned to the small boy and noticed that while his right hand was holding the half-filled sack, his left hand was holding a worn out toy car. I waved my hands and said bye-bye as I rode towards the mountains again. Did he just find the toy in the garbage area or the toy was originally his - when the misfortune did not take place yet? But one thing is crystal clear to me, that in spite of the boy's abnormal life, he did not give up his childhood completely. I could sense it in the way he held his toy.

My meeting with the young basureros made me poorer by 100 pesos. But they made me richer as to lessons of life are concerned. In them, I learned that life can be so fragile. I've learned that hard times cannot change the beauty of one's heart. Those three children, who sometimes cannot even eat three times a day, still held on to what they believe was right. And what a contrast to most of us who are quick to point out our misfortunes.

In them, I've learned to hope.

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