Nathaniel was walking on the roadside with a full backpack and tears in his eyes. He left the dorm on his own. He had walked about 3 kilometers when a man on a motorcycle stopped to talk to him. Not knowing the man, Nathaniel just stared at him as tears kept falling down his cheeks. He couldn’t hear what the man was saying. All he understood was the man was motioning toward his home and seemed to be trying to convince him to ride on his motorcycle. Nathaniel hesitated at first. He knew he didn’t have money to pay for the ride and the man was a stranger to him. However, the man persisted until he convinced Nathaniel to get on his bike. Nathaniel watched anxiously to make sure they were going the right way. He was relieved to see his home come within sight several minutes later. When they arrived, the man held out his open palms to Nathaniel. Understanding that the he was asking him for pay, Nathaniel just shook his head and ran quickly inside his house.
Nathaniel was born deaf and he attended school in Jagna, the nearest facility that provides the education that he needed. Since his parents could not afford the daily expenses for him to go home, Nathaniel stayed in IDEA’s dormitory. Being away from his family was so difficult for him that he decided to walk from IDEA’s dormitory home on his own. “I can’t forget that incident eleven years ago. I was only 9 years old then when I started staying at the dorm. I always cried because I missed my family until I decided to escape not knowing what dangerous things could have had happened,” Nathaniel shyly smiled and shook his head as he recalled the event.
Though it was also hard for his parents to see him crying and wanting to stay home, they brought him back to school. “My parents didn’t allow me to stop schooling. They didn’t want that my three siblings and I would be like them and not finish their education. We were financially hard-up since my father was the only one earning with a meager income as a car aircon technician. Yet, they have high hopes for us,” Nathaniel explained.
Thankfully, Nathaniel adjusted to his new environment and started to feel at home. As the weeks passed, he realized he had a more interactive community at IDEA. He felt valued as he saw people who could understand him. He had a lot of people to mingle with unlike at his home where his brother was the only one whom he could play basketball with. He gratefully learned in school and was able to develop his talent in drawing. “I focused in going to school each day even though I had a very little allowance for snacks and projects,” he recalled. When he reached high school at Bohol Deaf Academy (BDA), he was glad that he learned vocational skills such as computer graphics, carpentry, welding, and soap-making. He was even awarded as Best in Arts and Best in Welding. “Thanks to my parents for not giving up,” he said.
Because of Nathaniel’s good character and skills, he was hired on January 2016 as a housekeeping staff in Dao Diamond Hotel and Restaurant, one of IDEA’s Employment and Income Generating Projects. His supervisor mentioned that they are happy to see him improving in his job. She stated that he is hardworking and carefully follows instructions. He even has the initiative to work as a waiter when the restaurant has many guests and they are not busy in housekeeping.
With a cheerful face, Nathaniel said, “I am so happy that I am employed now. It’s my time to give back even the little that I can to repay the sacrifices of my parents. I’m glad that I’m able to help in supporting some of my family’s needs. I am also grateful to IDEA and my sponsors for the assistance all throughout my journey as a student. I could not be what I am now without their support. I am blessed to have them. They are truly making a difference in our lives.”