Light Beyond Darkness

Author: Eliza Lorica

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I may not have seen what light looks like but my God is my lamp. He guides me in every step I take.

I’ve never seen how beautiful the world is. I’ve never seen the faces of the people who are dear to me. I’ve never seen how the light looks like because I was born blind. I have a Congenital Glaucoma.

When I was 2 months old, my parents found out that there is something wrong with my eyes. They brought me to PGH Hospital in Manila. The doctors told them that my case is very complicated because, in order for me to get my eyesight, I have to undergo countless examinations and operations. But my parents decided to go home to the province instead because they didn’t have enough money for all that was required to make me get better.

Growing up, I thought I was just an ordinary kid but when I was six years old, I found out that my mother tried to abort me. I overheard her and our neighbors talked about how she (my mom) tried to abort me through hilot. When that did not work, she took abortion medicines to get rid of me. But I held tight because God wants me in this world.

She didn’t want me at that time because of financial reasons. They already have a daughter and a son. Having another child to feed would be detrimental to them financially. When I heard everything, I realized that I was not a typical kid. I could not go to school like other kids because I have my limitations.

I thought that I would never be given the chance to study. But God is really good because when I was fourteen years old, a woman who was a SPED teacher saw me and my mother while we were buying something at the department store. She asked me if I wanted to study, I immediately said yes.

I learned Braille with my SPED teacher. After 3 months, I started to study in a regular school. My parents were very supportive. My mom would even prepare my food every day and my dad would accompany me to school. I got accelerated when I was in elementary and I finished it for only three years. When I finished high school, my parents told me that they didn’t have money to support my college education. But I never gave up. I tried to go to the provincial government and applied for several scholarships. I even applied for scholarship from the Resources for the Blind. And I was so thankful to God because I was qualified. To top it all, my sister told me that there was a woman who wanted to help me with my studies. So, I got three scholarships.

I really wanted to take up Bachelor of  Science in Education at that time. I tried to apply at the university in our province but I was denied because of my condition. I enrolled in a private school and took up Bachelor of Science in Information Technology.

I experienced many trials and challenges in my studies. I experienced discriminations from my teachers and from some of my classmates. I also had a hard time financially because my scholarships were not enough. I even experienced going to school without money in my pocket. But my adversities were my drive to keep going no matter what.

After two years, I decided to finish the IT ladderized program because I really wanted to take up education. So, I enrolled in the same university but they still denied me. Because of that, I went to Manila to look for a job. There, I experienced a lot of discriminations and rejections from different companies. And that same year, I accidentally got pregnant.

I got married and became a full-time mother and housewife. After 2 years, my ex-husband went to Cabanatuan to work while I was taking care of our son. But after several months, I found out that he was cheating on me. So, we broke up. My life became so miserable and my world was crushed to pieces but life must go on.

I applied in the Provincial Capitol and I was hired as project staff. I was happy at that time because it was a dream job. But after several months, they started to ask me to make solicitation letters. At first, I thought that they were using those to help finance some organizations. But as the days passed, they asked me to create at least 50 letters per day. Eventually I found out that they used the letters for corruption and for their own benefits. I didn’t have a choice. They said that it was part of my job.

A year later, after I got my job, I met a guy who accepted me for who I am and for what I am. A guy who loves me unconditionally. He even loves my son like his own. Actually, we’ve been friends since 2013 but we lost touch. But God is really great because He brought him back to me.

My personal life was going well but my situation at work became worst. Some of my officemates bullied me and discriminated me. I cried every night because aside from bullying, my conscience was killing me because I was making the fake letters they used for corruption. My boyfriend felt so bad about my situation that was why he decided to bring me to Thailand.

I’m based here now in Thailand since January. Before, I tried to look for a job but I was unsuccessful because of the credentials they need which I do not have. I’m just glad that one of my friends mentioned and introduced Virtualahan to me. She was from Team 26.

I learned a lot at the training. It has equipped me even more because I acquired new knowledge, gained confidence and developed my skills. Because of my Virtualahan training, my self-confidence and self-esteem were rebuilt. I finally had the beautiful opportunity to learn and know my worth and what I can do at the workplace. Just a few weeks after my training, I applied for an English teaching job. I had tried applying before but I was not accepted then. But this time, my self-confidence is just beyond the roof because I know I am more equipped because of my training.

At the interview, I was asked of what would be my significant contribution to the institution. I bravely answered that I could help them and the students with any Google-related tasks. I could even help them create examinations through Google form and many more. Most of the questions thrown at me were related to virtual technology and I am just grateful that I was able to answer every difficult question and eventually ended up with the job.

I am working now as an English teacher here in Khon Kaen School for the Blind which is ran by Christian Foundation for The Blind (CFBT). I handle offline English courses as well as the Learning English Online.

Just recently, I received my first salary and it feels empowering that I could finally provide for myself after a long time of being unemployed.

It took me time to get this and to be where I am now and Virtualahan is a big part of my success. If it weren’t for the training or for my coaches, this job would be difficult and impossible for me. This is why I would like to take this opportunity to thank Virtualahan, the coaches and everyone who makes the training possible to people like me.

_________

I may not have seen how beautiful the world is but I have felt the joy and happiness brought by my friends and family. I may not have seen their faces but I have felt their unconditional love deep within. I may not have seen what light looks like but my God is my lamp. He guides me in every step I take. 

ELIZA LORICA
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