Every mother has a dream for her family, for her children, for her husband she loves, for the household she takes care of. Whether the dream is an impossible one or a dream that is as prosaic as eating three meals a day, a mother will wake up every morning with the sole purpose and hope of fulfilling her dreams.
Where in other parts of the world, mothers search for “comfort food” such as ice-cream and cakes to appease their troubled hearts or stressful days, mothers here look for food to appease the hunger pangs of her family’s stomachs. Husbands look for jobs to provide for the family’s needs. But where job opportunities are scarce, husbands rely on seasonal employment such as rice harvesting, building construction and land-tilling. Once the job is over, the cycle of looking for another temporary job begins again.
The insecurity of the family’s income compels the wife, the mother, to stand up for her family. Early in the morning she would go and search under coconut trees to look for fallen old coconuts that she would sell at a very cheap price. The money would be just enough to buy a kilo of the cheapest rice sold in town. As she returns home, she would gather firewood to cook the rice. When she gets home at noon, and the sun is in its hottest, she would start the fire while her children wait for their meal. The children eat the rice with whatever she could find to make the rice palatable – usually this is a spoon of salt mixed in a coconut oil which she mixes the rice with. The mother would eat whatever is left. As long as her family is fed, she is fine.
The Community Health Education (CHE) class held a “dream-sharing” activity for the mothers who face life at its hardest daily. The mothers were provided with white paper and crayons and were asked to draw their dreams for their families.
A mother of six children drew a house with a trail going to a school. She has a college degree but is unable to find a stable job. She derives her income from a small store in the community. Her dream is that her six children would be able to go to school, complete their studies and would not cause any problems in society.
Mother’s dream of all her 6 children completing their studies
A mother of five children, who carries her 2-year-old baby every time she attends class, shared a drawing of her house, her complete family, and her abundant vegetable garden with all its bright and colorful fruits. Her husband works as a laborer at a “datu’s” (traditional leader) farm. For her, as long as her family is together and they get to eat from their own garden’s produce, her dream would be fulfilled.
Mother’s dream of her family together enjoying fruits from their own garden
A mother of nine children, who is pregnant with her 10th baby, shared a drawing of her house built highly elevated from the ground so that they are safe from unexpected floods and heavy rains. She drew some vegetables and fruits. She hopes to grow some vegetables and fruits because where she lives now does not have any land to grow vegetables. Her husband is away at the battlefield. I always wonder how she copes with her nine children all alone. When I visit her, she is usually lying down and nursing her youngest who is 1 year old.
Mother’s dream of owning a safe house to live in
A wife with no children and whose husband works in the farm dreams of owning and running a grocery store. She dreams of conceiving a baby. This is her ultimate dream.
Mother’s dream of having children and owning a grocery store
The mothers’ dreams go on and on. As we wrapped up our activity, I invited them to pray with me in the name of God. After the prayer we agreed that we will celebrate the fulfilment of their dreams in God’s time – when their children finally graduate, when the grocery store is finally set up, and when their gardens are in full bloom. My dream for the mothers, is to experience life to the fullest, with the Maker of their dreams and the One who could fulfil their dreams. My dream for my own family is to live a life worthy to be called followers of God.
May these mothers see how God transforms my family’s life. May the mothers have the desire to discover a life transformed and together we will find the fulfilment of our dreams.
Story by Mei Solocasa-Neri and Wong Kah Wei