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The Forgiveness ( As delivered by Althea del Rosario during the 20th Anniversary Celebration of Haven for Women and Girls)

Althea beams with pride during the graduation ceremony.

Haven is my real home,where I experienced happiness, unity, challenges and having a real family. All I can say is  I am blessed to be part of the Haven family. Buti nga ang Haven nandiyan lagi. Ang mga staff na nakikinig pag may problema ka at nagbibigay sila ng advice at tinuturo nila kung ano ang dapat at karapat dapat mong gagawin. I stayed at Haven for almost 3 years.

Sa tatlong taon na ‘yun maraming nabago sa akin, marami akong natutunan sa buhay at number one ang pagiging disiplinadong tao, and foremost to become stronger than before, never quit challenges. Because quiting makes you feel nothing.

When I got bored I make myself busy I just simply got ballpen and a piece of paper including dictionary of course kasi di ako ganun kagaling. Then I wrote poems, I already wrote 15 poems. Noongnadischarged na ako dito sa Haven mas marami pa palang pagsubok ang dumating sa buhay ko para lang makapagtapos ako sa pag-aaral. Nadischarged ako noong 2nd year college pa lang ako.

Hanggang sa tinuloy-tuloy ko lang. I made Haven as my inspiration. Sa lahat ng dagok ko sa buhay napapaisip lagi ako sa haven, I dedicated my feasibility and thesis to Haven, na naging dahilan kung bakit naging best paper of the year ang thesis ko. I’d rather to worked alone than to have a groupmate na wala ng ginawa kung di ang iasa lahat sayo. That is why Haven placed a big part of my success. Nagworking student pa nga ako noon sa jollibee citimall.

I went to school 7 in the morning until 1 in the afternoon, then I went to work 2 in the afternoon until 1 in the morning. Tapos gagawa pa ako ng mga assignments and projects. At kapag may magpapagawa ng projectssa akin gagawin ko kahit pagod na pagod na ako para lang magkaroon ako ng extra income.

Buti na lang may taos pusong nagbigay sa akin ng laptop para kapag may magpapaencode sa akin ginagrab ko agad agad. At the same time may 2 staff sa DSWD ang nagbigay ng scholarship sa akin 1 from CHED and 1 from PSAA Manila. Marami pong salamat sa inyo.

Being a mother is not an excuse to continue your goals. Some people will stare at you from head to toe and they judge you because you did not graduate on time because you got pregnant, but this are just a few of the challenges that spices up our very essence of living. Experiences,good or bad are not hindrances but our stepping stones towards our goals.

One month after giving birth on 2015 March 2, I went to the University to inquire if I will be allowed to continue my on-the-job training since it is a requisite before I can graduate from my course. I was hoping I could join the graduation so I have to complete my curriculum before I can step on stage, some of my professor disagree because I am still recuparating from my Cesarean section operation.

I had to convince the Dean of our department that I can handle the pressure of the training and that I am well enough physically to continue. I was praying deep inside that she will find in her heart to consider my plea, and I was so happy when she said that only when I can get a recommendation from my OB-gynecologist that I am physically able to continue with my schooling despite the operation I just undergone, that they will allow me to pursue my training. I visited my OB right away and she gave me a recommendation.

During my training, I work from 7 in the morning to 5 in the afternoon. Thanks to my adorable daughter who wakes me up at 2 in the morning the reason why I never got late. Sleepless but it’s worth it, besides I got to play with her before heading to my training. She is my motivation.

Last 2015 June 5, the most awaited time to every student’s life “the graduation day”. I felt so excited and satisfied, it is a big achievement for me bacause despite all the challenges, I was able to step on the stage as a promise to myself and to those who believe in me.

On that very special day, my mother treated us for lunch together with my in-laws. After so many years, I felt I get connected with her again. We never had this kind of celebration since the issue I had with her. I have been nurturing this feelings of hate and betrayal against her for so many years. I blamed her and cussed her.I said to myself that I will never need her in my life.

But all that vanish in thin air when I saw how happy and proud she was for me. 20 years have passed and that was the only time I heard her say “I am proud of you Anak” I cried upon hearing that and I felt so light after, I know I had forgiven her.

Yes I made it! I might have stumbled along the way, I have made a few wrong turns but I got myself back on the track. Thank you Lord for always lighting my way and guiding me especially those times I felt alone. Thank you for the instruments you used to help me make all these possible.

To my family, for the support, to my friends, for the encouragement, to my second family in DSWD, for taking care of me during those times of darkness. To my professor, who honed me, to PSAA, for the support ‘til the end! Thank you all,for believing in me! Last 2016 Lenten Special of ABS CBN na featured ang kwento ng buhay ko. Try to watch 2016 Lenten special “ the forgiveness” by father Orbos.

And now we own a small canteen during school days, minsan catering, umi-extra sa networking at the same time namimili kami ng palay.

To the residents, there will be challenges, there will be times when you want to quit and there will definitely times when your mad at yourself but remember, if you continue to believein your self and your passion you will get into finish line. It’s time to make things great..Just do not quit, no body controls your life but you. And in this world, what really matters is not what you hold in your hands but what you carry in your hearts. May your heart feel no anger and pain but be filled with lots of love, friendship, values, virtues, goodness and most of all God’s blessing.

Thank you for the invitation and happy 20th Anniversary…###

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