Unceasing generosity
JUST BE - Bernadette Sembrano (The Philippine Star) - November 11, 2012 - 12:00am

When I ask children from poor families what they want to become when they grow up, the common answers that I get are: Artista, doctor, nurse, soldier and policeman. Some children give me a blank stare, as if the question is quite trivial. Maybe it is, especially if no one in their family has ever set foot on college.  

In my coverage for TV Patrol’s Lingkod Kapamilya, I met a couple Pepe and Tessie Escueta. Their case was brought to our attention because of Tessie’s lump on her neck. (I dare not call it a goiter or tumor yet, as tests still have to be done on her.)

Tessie had a big grin the whole time I interviewed her. Her sense of humor is not quite common especially for people who are sick. It was her husband, Pepe, who was emotional about his wife’s condition. He told me why Tessie had endured the mass for 17 years: “We prioritized our children’s education but we just do not have enough money to pay for my wife’s operation,” he told me in Filipino.

Pepe worked as a carpenter during his younger years. Now too old for manual labor, he mans the bodega and earns barely above minimum wage. I was surprised to hear that given their circumstances, two of their children have graduated college. The eldest graduated with a Computer Science degree, and the other took up Civil Engineering. The younger children are taking up Mechanical Engineering and Marine Engineering.

Because the family could not afford the fare, the children had to live with their Tita in Taguig where their school is located. Tessie said, “We’re very lucky because our children are very aggressive to graduate from college.”

I have to give credit to Pepe and Tessie, because despite their not being able to graduate from college, they inculcated in their children the value of having a college degree. It would have been practical and easier for the family if their children were working — a factor why children drop out of school — but, for Pepe and Tessie, having a college degree would give their children a chance to a better life. 

Tessie, too, was reluctant to get treatment for her lump because she was scared. Lately though, she has been having problems with her breathing and hopes to get operated on for her family’s sake more than her own. 

For those who wish to help Tessie in her operation, you may get in touch with us at (02) 415-2272 loc. 5409. You may also deposit your donation to Banco De Oro, ABS-CBN Branch with the account name: AFI-Gabay Kapamilya and account no. 5630050932. 

Meanwhile, at the office yesterday, we were scanning the letters and medical abstracts sent to us. The patients made sure to send photos of themselves. The images were heartbreaking. There was a little boy whose eye was sticking out and another photo of a man with a tumor in his neck that has become an open wound. There are more.

Emong, one of the members of our team, and I just looked at each other, and we understood. I am surprised at how our team manages to deal with so many patients and not get depressed. (Thank God for the grace!) We get by and we’re very hopeful because people have been unceasing in their generosity. Once again, thank you. 

(E-mail me at nagmamahalateb2@yahoo.com.) 


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