Naga dad offers chickens for kids’ e-learning gadget, gets help from online community
A cash-strapped dad from Naga City resorted to bartering chickens online for his children’s schooling requirements as classes are set to resume this August.
Rommel A. Enriquez, a 46-year-old father of four boys from Barangay Carolina in Naga City, Camarines Sur, took to Facebook group Naga City Camarines Sur – Barter Community last July 31 to offer all his chickens in exchange for a smartphone that his children can use for distance learning.
“Need po ng [mga] anak [ko ng] android phone for online class, kahit second-hand [phone] po,” Enriquez stated in his post.
(My kids need an android phone for their online class; even a second-hand phone will do.)
Enriquez has been raising livestock animals such as chickens and rabbits in a small space outside their house, while his wife Joy Janet Felix, 39, has been selling fruits in their town.
However, their small business had to stop as the country sinks deeper into an economic crisis during the coronavirus pandemic.
Their sons are incoming Grade 10, 8, 7, and 2 in Carolina National High School and Carolina Elementary School. Their modular distance learning will also start this month, in line with the Department of Education’s decision to push through with it despite calls from various groups to postpone the opening of classes.
“Modular [learning] po ang gagamitin ng school [nila], ngunit kailangan pa rin ang [cellphone] sa mga quizzes or exams, at sa ibang subjects,” Enriquez told INQUIRER.net in an interview.
(Their school will be using modular learning, but they still need a cellphone for their quizzes or exams and in other subjects.)
Students are not obliged by the school to have a gadget, but Enriquez said that they may be required to take pictures of plants for their gardening subject and pictures and videos for their physical education subject.
Anticipating the struggle of this new mode of learning, Enriquez is worried about his kids’ education.
“Naawa rin po kasi ako sa mga anak ko kung wala silang magagamit sa pakikipag-komunikasyon sa kanilang mga guro. Nagsasalit-salitan po kami upang makakonek sila sa (group chat) ng bawat grade section dito sa [phone] ko, anim po na account ang ginagamit.”
(I also feel sorry for my children if they would have nothing to use to communicate with their teachers. We just take turns so that they can connect to the group chat of each grade section here on my phone, where six accounts are being used.)
Enriquez’s family used to rent a fruit stand for their business where he would earn around P5,000 in a month and a half. Unfortunately, it had to be closed when they could not afford the rental fee anymore since community lockdowns have been imposed due to the pandemic.
Helping hands amid COVID-19 pandemic
Touched by Mang Rommel’s Facebook post, some netizens commented on it and offered to give him a phone without taking his chickens.
One of the Facebook users commented on the post and said, “Ilan anak mo po? [I] will give [you na lang an] android phone for your children. Keep your chicken na lang po.”
(How many kids do you have? I will just give you an android phone for your children. Just keep the chickens with you.)
Enriquez told INQUIRER.net that someone already pledged help and they are now waiting for the gadget to be delivered. Many others have also reached out to him, but Enriquez said “’yong iba po tinanggihan ko na dahil hindi rin lang naman ako ang may pangangailangan (I refused to accept the others’ help because I am not the only one in need).”
He did not expect that his Facebook post would bring such blessings to come to his family as he only wants what is best for his children. And yet, he wants to express his sincerest gratitude to those who offered help.
Mang Rommel hopes his kids will strive hard to finish their studies. “Sa mga anak ko po, sana mag-aral kayong mabuti at makapagtapos. Huwag sayangin itong pagkakataon na ibinigay sa atin.”
(To my children, I hope you study hard and be able to graduate. Do not waste this opportunity that was given to us.)
Furthermore, Enriquez hopes his wife would have a place to sell fruits so she does not need to roam the streets to sell every day, as he fears she will be more exposed to the virus. NVG
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