It is a mixed emotions of happiness and sadness once I remember my younger days in the province. I can still recall clearly the time when the dark storm of life hits our family. I was eight years old at that time when our head of the family was hospitalized due to kidney operation. Having eleven children and almost are still studying, it is very hard for our mother to find a solution for our survival and at the same time pay hospital bills for our sick father.
Having the mindset of "More hands makes work lighter"; and " Bigger family provides bigger income" we find ways and means to help solve our family problem. My elder brothers and sisters offer labor to our neighbors and to other people in exchange of money or food for the family. As I remember it right, it took almost one year for our family carrying that load and heavy sacrifices just to sustain our needs for survival. I can still remember when I was seven years old when I and my younger brother were assigned to fetch water, carry firewood, plant rice, raised chicken and ducks to help our family augment its income.
Some of my sisters are assigned to sold vegetables, fruits, and eggs to our neighbors and neighboring barrios every weekend or sometimes right after we arrived from school. Failure for us to do our assigned task everyday, imposed punishment should be "no work, no eat, no school". That's how strict our mother was!
Looking back in everything that happened in our life, gives us a lot of lesson to learn. It made us stronger and build us a close relationship as siblings with a helping hand, until we have a family of our own. We are firmly molded by our experience. We are strictly trained to be hardworking and developed to be family oriented and God fearing. We learn to embrace everything with Love and open arms. Life is worth living. Everything happened for a reason. God has a plan and purpose for our existence. We should be thankful for all of these.