By KARYLL AINA BAOANAN
Karyll, age 8, is from the Philippines. She now lives in Queens, New York. Karyll wrote this essay in Tagalog, her first language. She also speaks English. If you speak another language, practice it and don’t forget it. You’ll be glad you did!
I remember the time I was only four years old. My mama left for America because she wanted to give us a good future. My papa took care of us siblings.
Before my mama left, I remember that we had a small store. It paid for our daily expenses until business went bad and my mama and papa closed the store. That’s when my mama decided to go abroad so that we could go to school.
After two years went by, my mama brought us here. I didn’t know what had happened to my mama. She was abused by the family that brought her to America. For three months she worked as a domestic worker. They didn’t pay her and they even kept her locked up inside the house. I felt so bad for my mama when I found out what had happened to her.
When I was in the Philippines, I really wanted to go to America so that I could be with my mama. Now that I am here in America, it’s nice, but I see that life here is really difficult. It’s nice because our family is together. It’s difficult because I’m not able to play. I don’t have many friends and I’m not able to be with my cousins. And I see my parents—they’re so busy with their work. By the time they get home, they’re so tired. We’re only able to spend a little time together.
Karyll’s essay in tagalog:
Naalala ko noong apat na taong gulang palamang ako. Umalis ang mama ko papunta ng America sa kagustohang mabigyan kami ng magandang kanibukasan. Ang papa ko ang nag alaga sa aming magkakapatid.
Bago umalis ang mama ko, naalala ko merong kaming tindahan. Duon kami kumukuha nang pang araw-araw na gastusin hanggang sa humina ang negosyo at isinara na ng mama ko at papa ko ang aming tindahan. Kaya, nag disiyon ang mama ko na mag abrod nalang para maka pag aral kami.
Pag lipas ng dalawang taon nakuha rin kami nang mama ko ditto. Hindi ko nalaman ang nangyari sa mama ko. Na abuso pala ang mama ko nang pamilyang nag dala sakanya sa America. Tatlong buan syang nagtrabaho bilang domestick worker na hindi nila pinasahod at kinukulong pa sa loob nang bahay. Naawa ako sa mama ko ng nalaman ko ang nangyari sakanya.
Ng nasa Pilipinas ako, gustong gususto ko nang pumunta nang America para makasama at makapiling ang mama ko. Ngayong nandito na ako sa America, masarap at mahirap pala ang buhay dito. Masarap kasi buo na ang pamilya naming. Mahirap kasi hindi ako maka paglaro. Wala akong masyadong kaibigan at yung aking mga pinsan hindi ko na sila nakakasama. At nakikita ko ang aking mga magulang— masyado silang abala sa kanilang trabaho. Pag dating nila sa bahay mga pagod na sila. Konting oras na lang kami nag kakasama.