VOF Week 2 (Me: a girl, a farmer, a teacher and a woman)
I am excited to tell everyone reading this about my life as a simple individual.
I was born in Negros Occidental, Philippines. This province is known as sugar bowl of the country because its main product is sugar. My father was working as a "cabo", foreman watching over other workers. His pay was hardly enough for our family of 12. I saw the life's difficulty. all my older brothers and sisters were working either as planter, weeder, or cane cutter and hauler to load to the train. Being very young at that time, my task was to bring food to all of them in the farm and upon coming home gather firewood along the way.
My elder sisters and brothers did not finish elementary grades. they have to work for the family's survival. Being the youngest, I went to school because I can't work in the farm. I made good grades, and free from school fees till high school.
After high school, college education seems remote to me but I started the first two years as a working student. I experienced financial difficulty. I quit school. after 6 years, I got married and had 4 sons. One died while still 3 months due to acute bronchitis and failure to get immediate medication due to poverty. In the farm, I helped in some work to help my husband eam additional income which was never enough for our needs.
I was so affected by my son's death and decided to leave that farm and venture to the city.
I convinced my husband that I go back to college and finish my college education. My childrem that time were still 3, 2 and 1 years old. I did the work of a wife, a mother while I was also a student until I earned the teaching profession in 3 years. i've been granted a scholarship due to my good grades and graduated with honors.
My life as wife, and a student was difficult. Most often school involvement was compromised for some housework. However, I was very active in the promotion of human rights as the political situation at that time was very bad, under the regime of pres. Marcos.
After earning a degree, I taught in my alma mater. My tasks at home has not changed. Is it pure luck or whatever, I was granted scholarship to earn a Master's degree and doctorate degree by the government. In these scholarhsips I learned about gender relations being one of the courses in the curriculum. From then on, I began to work for gender equality and have a strong advocacy for women's rights.
In all these experiences, my role of being woman and a wife faced many challenges. My husband was always threatened by my involvement with the women's organization. I observed that he is trying to assert his machismo through big voice and his habitual drinking that always frightened me.
I have established linkages with women's international network and presented papers in conferences where women participants also share resources and opportunities. This is where I also learned about pulsewire, voices of women.