Goodbye, August, welcome September. It’s the first ber month and you know what it means. It means time will pass by so fast the next thing you know, the year is gone. Is September your favorite month? What do you like about September?
For some parents, it’s probably their favorite because their children are finally back to school and their school supply shopping is over. For some students, it’s probably their least favorite because they are back to school. Waking up late, staying at home, watching TV or playing on the iPad is over. But it’s not the case for this year—2020.
Most students are not physically back in school due to this pandemic called COVID-19. There is a new way of going to school. It’s called virtual schooling where students log in to their computer from their homes and meet up in the virtual classroom. How do you like this kind of set up? Or would you rather have your kids going to school in this pandemic time? Visit us on our facebook page and leave us a comment at Facebook.com/FilAmVoiceMaui.
Let’s see what’s going on with Michael and Angel in this month and where they will be going next, shall we?
Clanking outside, Michael refuses to open his eyes.
More clanking and more clanking.
Michael finally finds the courage to open his eyes and takes a look outside. As he peeks out the window he sees one man jacking the sakyanan (car) up and the other untightening the lug nuts.
He unlocks the car and is about to open the pintuan (door) when his phone rings.
“An idiot is attempting to call you … an idiot is attempting to call you … ” his ring tone goes on …
“Who’s calling me now? It’s so early in the buntag (morning)’” Michael mumbles to himself.
He answers the phone, “Hello?”
Female: We have been attempting to reach you about your car’s extended warranty. Press one if you want to be on the “Do not call list.” Press two or stay on the line to be connected to an agent.
Michael: Scam calls again? Now I’m getting these calls like every day.
He hangs up the phone, opens the lugan (car) lukub (door) and steps out.
“You guys changed my flat tire just like that?” he exclaims.
Man #1: “Yeah, it’s so easy to do. You haven’t done it before? Oh, yeah, you have like a lady gamat (hand). It’s clean and it looks manicured.”
Michael looks at his kamay (hands) and he tucks them away in his pockets.
Michael feels embarrassed. He judged these guys thinking they were scammers and only asking for money on the side of the road. In the past, Michael’s experience with the homeless was unfavorable to say the least.
Once upon a summer time in high school, he volunteered at the Salvation Army outreach or at Good Shepherd Church cooking free meals for the needy every Sunday and every major holiday. But one fearful Thursday changed all that.
It was a bright Thursday bigat (morning). Michael got dropped off at Baldwin Park to meet with the other volunteers for pagkaon (food) pantry distribution. The truck was already parked under the tree. He was assigned to the canned goods section. He lined them up neatly so it’s easier to bag and distribute them. Everything went well that day. At the end of his shift, Michael went to use the restroom. There was an old lady, looking disoriented and stressed. He approached her.
“Aunty, are you ok?” he asked the lady.
“No. I need help to bring my kanan (food) over to my tent,” she said hopefully.
“Oh no worries Aunty, I can do for you. Where your groceries stay?” Michael asked.
Pointing to the three bags in the corner, Michael quickly grabbed them and said “Where to?”
She pointed to her blue tent near the bushes. Michael carried the three bags and walked to her tent. He squatted and placed the bags inside the blue camping tent and when he stood up to return to the truck where the pamangan (food) distribution was, a fist landed on his nawong (face).
Michael fell to the ground. He tried to get up but saw a man near him and this man shook his cold dark shoulder. When Michael didn’t respond, he reached in Michael’s back pocket of his pants, took his wallet, opened it and took the kwarta (money). Then another man took Michael’s shoes. Michael closed his eyes because he got so scared. He passed out and didn’t know what happened after.
When he woke up, he saw his Nanay (mother) next to his hospital bed. His Yena (mother) with bloodshot eyes, told him the police found him in the bushes passed out. They suspected he got assaulted by homeless men.
Michael looked at his Inahan (mother) who was overflowing with so much grief and anger she was literally shaking. Michael reached over to hold her ima (hand) and she squealed. The vibration in her voice when she cried that day is something he would never forget. The swelling in his mukha (face) would eventually heal but his views of the homeless would never be the same again. “I just wanted to help them mom. Why … ”
“Michael, don’t go there anymore,” she said with so much passion.
All he could do was look at her reaction as she continued to sob and clinch at the bedsheets. She was here alone because Tatay (father) was on a business trip to California.
Michael would never again volunteer. His want and need to help the homeless get back on their feet evaporated into thin air. It was replaced with sheer resentment.
Fast forward to the present.
Michael watches in astonishment as these men, these homeless men that came out of nowhere, help him fix his car.
Meanwhile, Angel just left her restroom and began reading her to-do list Lydia had given her to do that day and her mukha (face) went awe.
In our house, this list will be divided among my sisters and my brothers.
Angel couldn’t help herself but think of her family she left back in the Philippines.
I have to contact my family, especially my Mom. I’m sure they are very worried because I haven’t contacted them since I came to Hawai‘i. I wonder how they are doing? How do I contact them, they don’t have a cellphone? I’ll just send them my only $300 that I got for cleaning houses.
Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep!
Angel hears a beeping sound … what could that be?
I’m Dulce, helping you to master your Filipino Languages. Like always, let’s laugh, let’s makinig (listen), and Let’s Talk Pinoy! Hanggang sa muli! (Until next time!) Ingat! (Take care!)
Dulce Karen Butay was graduated from Maui High School and earned her Associate in Arts degree in Liberal Arts from Maui Community College and her Bachelors of Science in Business Administration, specializing in Accounting, from the University of Hawai‘i—West O‘ahu. She is currently the Administrative Officer at the County of Maui, Department of Finance. Butay is a licensed Resident Producer of Life Insurance with World Financial Group and an Independent Consultant of Saladmaster. She is now part of the Travel Club of Saladmaster and won an all-expenses paid trip to Cancun, Mexico with the love of her life, Paul Manzano. Butay has traveled to Texas, the Philippines and Thailand as one of the delegates from Island Healthy Solutions, a Saladmaster dealer here on Maui.