The Road to Interviewing Our Scholarship Candidates
The Road Least Traveled
We had to park the vehicle. The road was just way too narrow to accommodate our car. So we walked. The road wound round clumps of bamboo, tall acacia trees and some mahogany. There was a stand of Bang-ar trees and Bittaog towering above matching the tall and willowy coconut trees. It was a long walk in the oppressive heat. All the while I was thinking about our interviewee. I was hoping the family would be home. We couldn't make phone calls ahead of our visit to make an appointment. The family had no home phone. Funny how in America and wherever we live we don't really appreciate all life's amenities and luxuries. These needy students don't have much. They are very poor.
The Road Meanders by the River's Edge
The road meanders by the river
The road meandered following the river's edge. This small path is used by goats, carabaos, pigs and other animals freely roaming around. We took our time and enjoyed the open air as much as we could. We took with us bottles of water just in case. The river was very calm. The deeper waters barely moving, swirls of little whirlpools hugged the pieces of bamboo stuck in the bed to hold down the rama. There were bamboo pilings all across the widest part of the stream. Cattails and coconut trees grew by the banks and lent their fronds for badly needed shade. We must have walked a couple of miles - perhaps even a couple of kilometers. The sand was soft underneath our feet. Every now and then we met a few farmers on their way to the fields. Some had burlap sacks on their shoulders. They were going for some greens and purslane for their penned pigs. Life goes on in this harsh and hostile territory. The older people remain in the shade of their huts, the younger people are out there either in the fields or in the river. Life is very active here.
Finally... we reach the house
The house of our Interviewee
It's a very humble little place. Some hollow blocks, a couple of windows, aluminum window panes, a main door with a cross affixed in front to ward off evil spirits. We have finally arrived at our interviewee's home. A quick assessment of the property we knew we came to the right place. After all, our candidates for our scholarships were supposed to be needy families. Indeed, our interviewee's family is needy. The father is a farmer and the mother is a housekeeper. Both father and mother try their best to bring in some cash but whatever they can make a day goes to buy food. The children - if they are lucky - may have a couple of pieces of clothing, no shoes, perhaps for the boys just a pair of shorts and a shirt. But the difference is in the way they look at life as a whole. They are happy and content to have a roof over their heads. They appreciate a kerosene lamp by which to study at night. They love their family and work as a unit - very cohesively cooperating and collaborating. This family's existence is down to its simplest form. You hear of no complaints. Just appreciation for assistance brought about with the SAS Ai scholarship award.