Life is never been easy. As a child, our playful imaginations make us dream to be a doctor, an engineer, a scientist, and many more. Unfortunately, not all are able to achieve this dream no matter what they do. Just like the story of Tatay Alfredo Manuel.
Tatay Alfredo wasn’t born to a well-off family like most of us. A few months before his graduation day, he was forced to stop in college because he failed to pay her school fees. In order to survive, he worked as a janitor in F. Maria Guerrero Elementary School in Sta. Ana, Manila.
But tatay Alfredo is a dreamer. He wanted to stand inside the classroom, holding chalk instead of a broom. He decided to went back to school and finished his Bachelor’s degree in Education from the University of the East-Manila. In 1992, he passed the LET teachers’ board exam and civil service examinations.
Life has been so cruel to him. He thought that he was just inches away from becoming a teacher, the school he was previously employed as a janitor turned down his application because of his pending offense at the school.
“Ginawa ko lahat sa school na ‘yun, ako na yung pinakamasipag na janitor at naging apple of the eye ng principal.. Pero kinainggitan ako ng mga kasamahan ko at siniraan ako. Ginawan ako ng storya na nagnakaw daw ako ng pondo ng school. Tinanggal ako.”
But it didn’t stop him from trying. For five years, he kept on applying to the same school but sadly, it keeps on turning down his application. In fact, Tatay Alfredo tried his luck in Manila Science High School and Roxas High School but his pending theft case didn’t favor him.
Because of rejection from all the schools he applied, he was forced to be a scavenger. For many years, students around Taft called him as a ‘scavenger genius’. He was always seen with a bag of plastics in one hand and a book in the other.
In an article written by Rachel C. Barawid entitled “Teacher Scavenger,”, Tatay Alfredo revealed his only remaining dream in life, to travel the world.
“Pangarap ko lang ngayon, kung magkaroon ako ng pera ay magpamigay. You have to share. Gusto ko ring mag-abroad at makita yung places na pinag-aralan ko sa mga libro, the Parthenon of Greece, Phoenix in Egypt, Eiffel Tower, Colosseum of Rome, Zaragosa, Spain. After that, puwede na siguro ako mamatay.”
Meanwhile, Tatay Alfredo is no longer seen on the streets of Taft. One Facebook user tried to reach him out. only to found that he was involved in an accident in 2016 that left him incapacitated. Until now, no one knows his whereabouts.
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