BEtween friends: Kwentong Kalye: Ang Pamilya PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 06 October 2014 14:14

Fatima Pir T. Allian


One of the  perks that goes along with this job as a development worker is you get to travel to different places, learn from the wisdom of the old, see beautiful places and taste great food! But most of all you get to hear stories of survival, of kinship and love. We always believe that the community serves as our classroom to learn about the indigenous ways of living. Some say that development workers play an important role in helping the communities develop and progress. But to some of us we believe that communities challenge us to think, to strategize and to learn from their experience. We do not empower them alone. They empower us so we can also empower them in return.

Having traveled from Zamboanga to the province of Sibugay, and the beautiful cities of  Pagadian, Dipolog, Cotabato, Ozamiz, Cagayan de Oro, Davao and General Santos, Maguindanao, Lanao del Norte, Lanao del Sur, Tawi-Tawi, Sulu and Basilan makes one appreciate the uniqueness of each destination. There is always a story in every nook and corner of your travel. There are mysterious lanes where bus drivers slow down and blow their horns or a story about a tree that has stood the test of time and gave shelter to a number of families especially during conflict. But there is one place somewhere during our drive from Marawi City to Maguindanao that Alex, our local contact, confided to us that he realized that every time he passes thru this main road, his jaw hardens and he begins to stutter as if words were so difficult to come out of his mouth. We began to talk about his story when he was still a teenager. He had to stop school because of poverty and the volatile peace and order situation in their place. How he envied some of his classmates and cousins preparing for school with their bags and baon for the day. He would escape the confines of their home. He would go to a deserted place and imagine that he was flying his kite. His mother warned him to stay at home and accompany his grandmother.  One day while he was in that area, a group of men were passing through that hilly place where he was. He was asked if he knew a certain person who lived in another barangay just near their place. He replied no and the men proceeded to go on in the opposite direction. About 15 minutes later he heard several exchange of fire in the direction where the men were going. He ran back to their home as fast as he could because he said, ”the bullets I felt were so strong that they might hit me!” Later that night he found out from his uncle that one of the men he met earlier was his father. His parents were separated before he was born. His mother never talked about his father and he did not ask but always wondered if his father was still alive. We found out that his father was a combatant and had sacrificed his youth to serve