“I can’t see that well. I can see with one of my eyes but it’s blurry, my other eye is completely blind. There are no medicines for my eyes. There is no one I can rely on right now either. There are even people who are cursing at me but I ignore them since I can’t even really see. Someone told me before not to move too much since I can’t see. I came here when I was 61 years old, I’m now 67. So I’ve been here for about 6 years. I don’t have anyone anymore; I don’t have my parents with me. They all passed away already. I’m never go married and I don’t have any kids. My siblings are all gone; one died when it was born, while the other one was stabbed by a guy in our province, Iloilo. I went to Manila to find work. I can’t remember when I came to Manila but I’ve been here for a long time. My previous employer asked me to leave without a reason even if I worked for her for several years. It’sa good thing someone took me to the barangay and soon brought me here so someone can take care of me. I feel better staying here.
My eyes are so bad. Though it was a good thing they were able to do something about my other eye so it did not end up that bad. My glasses are the only thing that helps my blurry eye to see. I just got my glasses changed recently. I feel uncomfortable wearing it and I feel ashamed that I need to wear glasses.
The nuns were the ones who took care of me. There used to be a nun that really paid a lot of attention on me, but she already passed away. She was a Spanish nun and she was really nice. Her name was Sister Milagros. After she passed, a different nun took care of me, but it’s alright because they’re all nice. At first it feels sad and lonely but after a while I became happier with my stay here. In a day, we are able to eat 4 meals. They really try to give us what we want.
I never got a chance to get married because I worked to support my other siblings. We were 2 girls and one boy; I was the second child. They needed medicine because of their sicknesses, and it was expensive but necessary for their maintenance. I also take similar meds. I had eye drops for my eyes that’s why my other eye is okay. They asked me why I didn’t get married – because I needed to work for my siblings. No one was around to support us anymore since our parents died and that’s why I needed to work. I used to work as a house-helper. There was one this child I used to take care of for a long time, since her elementary days till she graduated college. I’ve experienced a lot in my life – but only work and hardship. But good thing I can rest my eyes now since I stopped working. But I don’t have eye drops anymore.
Before, we had a check-up but they didn’t give us any medicine. If my parents were still alive, they would have taken care of me. Who else would? No one. I don’t want to go elsewhere, I might be forced to clean up the streets. It’s safer here because we’re told to avoid going out. We get nice beds and a warm bath here. I used to help out to do the laundry here but not anymore because my eyesight has gotten bad. I watch TV when there’s nothing to do. Well, I don’t exactly watch, I only listen to the TV or the radio. There’s nothing to do here because they won’t let us work either. They don’t want us to work and get tired. I tried to help out but they stopped me. Before I didn’t know how to use the elevator and so I used the stairs. They were worried because I might fall, so they taught me how to use the elevator. It’s unfair that I’m the only one getting reprimanded for using the stairs just because I have deficiency
with my eyes. They told me to just wait for a companion. There was this one time I thought there was no more steps, so my foot slipped. But good thing I was able to hold the handrail so I didn’t get into an accident.”
Roquita’s advice for the younger generation:
“Follow your parents, and whatever they tell you, don’t talk back. Just listen to them. Be patient when
your parents are attending to your other siblings, they would eventually give you what you want
anyway. Just work hard on your studies until you graduate. Don’t get a boyfriend/girlfriend first. Focus
more on your work because your future will depend on it – if you get a spouse and children.
Just try to choose someone who is a good person with a proper job.”