I am Danielle Anne Basilio Marabe, a junior Consular and Diplomatic Affairs student from De La Salle College of Saint Benilde. Yes, I will be graduating soon as this Third Term of 2014 is my last term in college. By now, I already have plans for what to do after graduation.
I envision myself working and saving money so I’d have a budget to obtain a law degree at the Ateneo de Manila University. I would study really hard so I’ll pass the bar exam. What happens after would depend on the opportunities that might come.
Well, that’s my dream. I have plans for it because, for me, goals without plans are just plain wishes. I don’t want my dream of becoming a lawyer to be just a plain wish. That’s why I’m up for overcoming any challenges necessary to get it done.
I want to become successful not just as a lawyer, but as a person. Life has subjected me to challenges that made me tough. The story of my life has molded me to have a clear vision of the success I want to achieve in my life.
The toughest stage of my life was way back February 10, 2011. That day marked the start of a new beginning for my family and I believe this event is the reason why I want to be a lawyer.
That day my mother decided to leave home and stay at a friend’s house some 300 kilometers away from us. She did so for her safety. Our family had fallen into a financial crisis caused by a scam that cost us millions. Because of this scam my family incurred increasing debts, lost our house, our car, and many other possessions. Worst of all, my mother lost her friends. The friends whom she thought were true were, instead, the ones who placed her in even more complicated situations. It was a very though time for us because we did not know who to trust. All the while, my dad was away working abroad as a seaman.
So, my siblings and I were left with our grandmother. Just like that, my life changed. As the eldest, I had to be strong for my family, especially for my siblings. At 16 years old and only a senior in high school, I had to face the people looking for my mom, I had to transact with my mother’s business associates, and I had to make sure that my siblings’ needs were met. That wasn’t an easy job. We have to pretend to everyone that we do not know where my mother was, and worst of all, we have to pretend that our family was broken. It is hard to tell a lie to all the people around me, even my best friend did not know the truth, but I had to do it for my mom.
I also struggled to balance my athletic involvement and my academics. I joined the college pep squad not just to be called a cheerleader but also because it was my ticket to free meals, free lodging at the dormitory, and a tuition scholarship. With my dad now the sole bread winner of our family, I had to do what I can to help lessen his burden.
Happily, our mother is back home again though she remains a captive in her own home. I just want this to end. I don’t want my mom to live her life being a prisoner of her own home because of her selflessness.
After graduation, I have plans of becoming a high profile lawyer, and dreams of becoming rich. But the real reason for this is family. As the eldest daughter, I witnessed all my parents’ hardship and sacrifices. I want to give them what they deserve even though they are not the type to ask for anything in return. My dad, being a Chief Engineer in their company, deserves more. I want him to be able to enjoy some of his monthly income for himself. My mom, who’s talented and very good with her business skills, deserves more. I want her to again freely work and bring back her own event coordination business. I want to bring back the family we used to have; the family that can freely express to the whole world that we are complete. I want my little sister to feel the joy that the older siblings used to feel. She never really experienced the kite flying bonding, biking, hiking, and other adventures our family used to do. I want to go back to living in a house we call our own. I love my family so much that before I settle and have my own family, I want the Marabe family to first feel secured and revert to the life we used to have.
This is my life. I don’t expect everyone to understand our situation because not everyone goes through what we did. “Nobody said it is going to be easy. But it is all going to be worth it.”
Danielle Anne B. Marabe is a regional intern at World Youth Alliance Asia Pacific.