ORIGINALLY POSTED: 11.9.11
Have I mentioned how much I love school this semester?! Well, in-case I haven’t I really do! Actually this is probably the first time in my entire life where I have enjoyed school! For my communication 111 writing class we have a big semester writing portfolio. We all had to choose a theme to write about and there are many different steps for completing our representative portfolio. My theme focus is on escaping poverty a.k.a. ‘The American Dream’. My writing is all based off of one woman and her trials, fighting for a better life. I thought it’d be fun to share my work. If you don’t really care then I suggest you skip the next few posts…
Mud and stick huts lined the neighborhood with rice fields everywhere in between. It was not uncommon for multiple families to share homes. Children who should be starting kindergarten are working with the rest of the family in the fields. Backs bent, and the sun blazing at least 100 degrees, but no one complains because this is how they lived. No, this is how they survived.
This was everyday life for Aurea Bondoc, growing up in a small farming town near La Paz in the Philippines. No person should live like this, but there are one-billion people in the world who do. It is a vicious cycle, repeating generation after generation. The only hope people living in poverty have is that by sending their children to school, they will break the cycle. “My friends had to stop school so that they could work on the farm. Education there is not a priority, as soon as you turn five you have to help on the farm. And you see these little kids planting rice, under 100 degree sun, and they’re bent all day…” Aurea’s sentence trails off as she shakes her head in disgust. “School there isn’t free, it cost money. There aren’t any school buses; you have to get money for a tricycle (moped). People there don’t have money, school is a hassle.”
Aurea was lucky enough to have family that knew of her potential and how important it would be for her to receive her education. She grew up living with two other families, in her home there were eleven people total. Aurea’s parents could not work making matters more difficult. If they did not work then the family would not have money for food and especially not for school. In the Philippines family is a great priority. After you have taken care of yourself you take care of others in your family who need your help. Aurea’s aunt was the provider for all five members of Aurea’s family.
As if it couldn’t get any worse, it does. People in poverty desire so badly to escape it that more than often they turn to crimes such as drug dealing, kidnapping and selling of mainly women for prostitution and slavery, murder and theft. Hands-on experiences with these crimes only pushed Aurea harder to escaping her life of poverty. “What people call poverty over here [U.S.A.] is not even close. You don’t know what poverty is until you go to a third world country and see the real thing. It is heart breaking,” she said.
She was the top of her class and received many awards, which brought her closer to her dream of a college education in The United States of America. In 2005 Aurea was accepted into Brigham Young University-Hawaii (BYU-H) and had received a full scholarship. She had finally made it out; one life-long goal had been completed with plenty more to go. In Hawaii she met her husband and they were married. They both wanted to continue their schooling in Hawaii but her husband wasn’t accepted into BYU-H. Luckily they were both able to transfer to Brigham Young University-Idaho and receive their degrees this past April, 2011.
In the mean-time before receiving their degrees they had three children. First their baby girl, Leia who is now 4 years-old, then came a strong boy, Keenan who is now 2 years-old and the newest addition to the family, another strong boy, Taivian who is 6 months-old.
Aurea Bondoc’s dedication and hard work is a testimony to those who, just like her, strive to escape poverty. The key is an education with supportive friends and family. With her dream goal accomplished it is her turn to help her family and younger siblings to achieve the same.