If God created us equally, then I do not see any explanation why this classmate of mine seems so unfairly treated by the people in school.
“Had the water system personnel prohibited you to take a bath?”, “Next time, bring with you your mat and pillow so that you can enjoy sleeping while I’m giving my lecture”. I always hear these words from our high school teacher in English who is considered as our second parent. Laughter inside the classroom follows next. Sometimes, it hurts him a lot, but as they say, reality bites.
I admit that sometimes he fails to take a bath and comes to school in crumpled uniform. He looks untidy. For this, he owes an explanation for this undesirable attitude and appearance. Yes, my teacher and my classmates always ask for an explanation. Yet for him, he also needs something – understanding.
When he was in grade three, his teacher told him that "education is as precious as diamond. Everybody should have it. If you have it, no one can take it from you". The advice inspired him a lot. That’s why he was able to finish elementary.
However, as they say, nobody knew what comes ahead. His father had suffered form tuberculosis and died several months after brought to the hospital. That turned his world upside down. He didn’t know what to do, where to ask for help. He wanted to look for his mother. My mother told me that his mother left them when he was five months old. She was rumored of having an affair with another man while her husband was out for fishing.
At an early age, he became a fisherman too, the legacy left by his father. He is the youngest among all the anglers in our barrio. They sail during the night and return home the morning after.
That’s it! His daily catch supports his needs, including his studies. Though it’s too meager yet he manages to make both ends meet. He fishes at night, goes home at three in the morning because he must sell his catch before sunrise. After taking a nap, goes to school, with crumpled polo and pants, and sometimes forgets to take a bath.
This is his story. And this is his reason. A very simple reason but only few had tried to understand.
Until now, he’s still guided by an inspiration. “Education is as precious as diamond…” “Therefore, I must get it” he said. He has to finish high school and pursue college. “I don’t care about what they say, my teacher, my classmates. I want to become a teacher”.
A teacher who will understand a student who is a fisherman, at same time. Like Jose.
Note: This article was written by the author when he was in second yer high school.