During my daily exercise walk down the beach, I meet a lot of interesting people and most of the time they remind me of incidences of 25 years ago. Today I stopped to chat by the area of Xanadu Resort with a young man, perhaps 12 years old, who was raking the seaweed on the beach.
“Good morning, young man. How are you doing?” I greeted him in a friendly tone.
“I’m fine, sir,” he replied with a smile.
“And how come you are not in school today?” I quickly added, assuming that he was a school-age kid. He was a bit reluctant in answering, so I tried to help him in conversation.
“You are helping your dad to rake the beach, right?”
“No sir. I am working today,” he volunteered shyly.
“Do you work here everyday? And when do you go to school?” I kindly gently asked.
“I go to school everyday, sir, but today I decided to stay and work.
“Do you work to help yourself pay your school fees?” I added.
“Yes, sir, but I also help my family with the house expenses,” he said a bit sadly.
“That is very nice of you,” I said. “That is okay as long as you spend your money wisely. I hope you help your family and also do well in school. Good luck and it was nice knowing you. What is your name?” He gave me his name but I cannot reveal it.
As I walked down the beach, I thought about the children of my generation twenty five years ago. We used to rake the beach and cut firewood and go look for coconut husks to make charcoal, and even went fishing, but our efforts were not to help run the family and cover the expenses. Back then, we never missed classes nor school to engage in paid labor. When a kid missed classes, it was just out of mischief to go fishing. When we did that we were whipped by dad at home and got another whipping from our teacher.
As I ended my walk down the beach, I thought of how fortunate we kids were 25 years ago as our parents took care of all our needs- food, shelter, health and education. Whatever work we did, it was to learn discipline and how to work, not because we had to work for a salary. Oh how nice life was in San Pedro twenty five years ago.
– by Angel Nuñez, Columnist