Saturday, November 20, 2010

Will and Determination

I had the privileged of seeing thirteen active junior boys in our small community beside the sea.  They were in various ages between 8 and 11 but their bonding was extra unique for those elementary years. Their families belong to the really economically poor people.  Their favorite hangout was the seashore and most of the time crab hunting after bouts of swimming, cycling and basketball.  They wrote their dreams on the sand and laughed their hearts out while waiting for those crabs to go get inside their bamboo cisterns. Most of the time there were very few catch but they made sure they brought home for food.  Except Neon, the 8 year old boy and youngest of them.  He stood out being a smart kid with decisive spirit and respectful attitude.  It was obvious he was the leader of the group however he always parted his crabs to the other boys because of his allergy he inherited from his father. He was always in white shirts, short pants and boots that was rare with the other boys. At their home, he had pets he dearly loved and really cared for his goats and a dog.  Neon would be seen riding on goats on those playful times at their yard together with his older sister and little brother.

Neon and the 1 dozen boys

One summer day Neon broke his piggy bank because all thirteen agreed to visit the health center. Purpose is to get 'the rite for the true manhood'.  Neon paid for the anesthesia which was P20.00 pesos for each one.  In our country, it is a big deal for the boys to be circumcised or the cutting of the foreskin from theirs.  All of them were present beside others which were around forty.  There in one big room in the clinic they laid exposed.  Neon saw the different expressions of his friends faces and emotions.  Some very pale because of fear, others were looking at a blank wall and many started to cry. When he saw the doctor approaching his bed, Neon immediately pulled up his underclothes and requested the doctor to spare him.  He was not ready he said but asked permission to observe how they performed those little incisions. He was very thankful that he was allowed to be the onlooker.  He noticed that some bled more and others didn't.

After each was done, they rose and all walk away unsteadily. Each boy was pulling up the shirt so it will not touch their open wound.  Several of Neon's friend ignored calling him a coward.  To this Neon promised that he will bring his father to watch the doctor perform on him those small instruments which bogged his mind. The following day,  he helped his friends looked for some guava leaves to wash up their fresh wound.  Two days later, he was accompanied to the local clinic by his dad, that time he was the only patient in which Neon was comfortable that way.  He had the opportunity to ask the doctor many things concerning anatomy and life by whom the good doctor gladly gave the explanations. When they all were healed a week later, they had the bicycle racing.  It was Neon's 9th birthday on April, and he asked his mother to give a humble prize of 1-kilo rice to the winner.

During Sunday, all thirteen boys attended the church Sunday School taught by his father.  After their class they would discuss any topics under the sun those with interests to their young minds.  One time they talked about their ambitions when they grow big.  Neon, without any hesitations told everyone that one day he will be a medical doctor.  Many had not agreed, all they could see were obstacles and financial crisis.  One boy said 'well, nobody can tell, perhaps even elementary is hard to finish.', two or three others seconded.  Neon, repeated his desire of becoming a doctor and said further, "if you are not studying hard and you are contended of 50 pesos for a days labor, twenty years from now I will be a doctor and will be earning much and you will remain receiving the same wages."  He said they can be cleaning together the church building during weekends and study during weekdays if their parents are not supportive rather than working as baggage carrier in stores each day.  After this 4 wonderful years of boys exciting adventures, they each parted ways during high school.  They agreed though that they will meet every year during vacation at their favorite hangout beach.

Neon finished high school in a public school with flying colors.  He received the fourth honors among 200 graduates.  During the thanksgiving dinner, only 5 of the 13 friends showed up.  Neon was very concerned and missed his other friends.  They checked their whereabouts, 7 were working as baggage boys, 3 were trying to finish elementary, 1 high school and 1 is going straight in college. He knew those absent were a little embarrassed that they stopped going to school. Neon was optimistic he too will go to college. After dinner all five again expressed their covenant to meet every vacation in their favorite seashore  then bade each goodbye.  Neon took the examinations in a university then passed, and by God's blessings, received a full academic scholarship with monthly cash allowance and book supplies. His family was very thankful and was always very supportive for his decisions.

Neon's third year college was the most challenging for him.  His most beloved father who was his encourager and example, died due to cancer.  He was in such agony for months in fact his grades all went down at that semester. With the help of a Bible teacher and many prayers, Neon was able to recover and moved on.  He graduated as a cum laude from the university majored in BS biology.  His academic scholarship continued even for his post graduate study in proper medicine.  Every year he sees to it that he can go by the seashore expecting to be with the original 13 nevertheless there was never a time that all were present.  Last year's reunion, there was the usual checking of whereabouts; 8 are married (some not legally) with children and no stable jobs, 2 were in high school as work students, 1 stopped going to school but no work, 1 finished now a teacher and Neon is in the medical school at present as a junior student.  He is very optimistic he will graduate by 2012 the Lord willing and be a good village doctor to build his clinic after passing the doctor's board examinations.  He wants to be a good surgeon or Internal Medicine someday in the future.

It started with a dream by a young boy Neon and who knows it grew from God.  Build your dreams, be an encourager!


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