By Charles Tang
I thought that I came here in Jagna, Bohol, Philippines just to work, or to gain more real-life business/consulting experience. It’s the fifth day I’m staying with my host family, and I started to realise that I also come here to learn what is, indeed, a family.
People who know me, like my past colleagues, my friends, and my family all agree that I am a very independent person. I am able to handle most of the challenges confronted to me in life, notwithstanding the challenging and life-changing ones. Rarely do I need to consult my family, but it also implies that rarely do I share my worries, my thought, my life with them. I did not recognise it until I did my first sharing with my host family in Jagna.
We (my roommate is John, a guy who come from Taiwan) live in a decently decorated home, with an eleven-year-old boy and his parents. Because of the lack of internet access most of the time, and place, I do have more spare time to talk to mama, her husband and son. I started to share my daily encounters in, and my thought about Jagna with them. We are spending hours with joy almost every nights.
I do not have this sharing in my home in Hong Kong. It is because I mistakenly thought there should always be something more valuable to do, like extra work, extra readings, or just resting, than just talking to my parents who I meet every day. In fact, it is the sharing and talking of significant values, which makes home a real home, a family a real family, a love a realised love.
Although I start to miss those good old days when the four in my family spent most of the time together, and I am missing my parents now, I do want to share with you several more things that happened to me in these five days, which are of values.
This is the basketball court in our village. Kids from the local families love playing here. We from Hong Kong are no exception. On the last Tuesday, John and I were still playing with several kids in this basketball court at 7 p.m., without telling our mama so. She finally took her torch with her (it’s really dark at night) and found us in the court. We were not that sensitive to people’s emotion. But when we finished our dinner in that night, mama told us that she would worry about us if we were late for home, as our parents would. That was the moment that I felt like we were indeed a family, a real family .
(We promised our mama that if we would be home later than 7 p.m., we will definitely let her know first. I will do the same when I’m back in Hong Kong.)
This clock stopped at 9.10, and I have not asked the reason why it’s not working. My home in Jagna locates in a quiet place, with no street lights nearby. It is definitely a decent place to sleep, quite the opposite to what we have in Hong Kong. However, in the first three nights, I was wake up by nobody at 2 a.m. My mama told me that the moment that I was wake up, was the moment that someone was thinking about me. And she said it was quite possibly my parents in Hong Kong. I made my second phone call to my home in these days, and I keep making it every day thereafter, not because I do not want to be interrupted during my sleep, but because I realise that there is indeed someone thinking about me, and this is my family, my real family.
Our mama. She was preparing breakfast for John and I. These days were the days that I had decent time for breakfast, especially with my ‘family’. Back in Hong Kong, I always need to be hurry in the morning – usually I only have time for a small slice of bread and a cup of coffee. And my mom, she does not have time in the morning preparing breakfast for us wither (lol). So I particularly enjoy the breakfast time with my family in Jagna, which just makes a better day for me.
Starting from the left, it was me, John, mama, and papa. It is a blessed Christian family, and we pray before every meal. I have no religion at all. But at the time they were thanking their sweet lord for providing them food, I was thanking them for teaching me again, what is home, and what is family.