“Sometimes, bad things happen to prepare us for the better things to come.”
I am Arlene Cañete from Catarman, Camiguin. My hometown is a small island in Northern Mindanao. Though it is a tiny place, a big fraction of my life is spent in this simple laid-back paradise. All the people closest to me reside here like my family and friends.
I could say I have lived a full life—happy and content because I am close to the things and people that make my existence worthwhile. And even if life did not come easy for me and my family but I have learned to value the little things I have.
Like many others in the island, producing copra is our main resource. Together with my family, we would dry coconut meat (kernel) and sell it to buyers because coconut oil is an important agricultural commodity not just for us islanders but for people in the tropical countries as well.
I definitely enjoyed my life with my family. But time came when I realized that it was about time to expand the horizon of my world and work to sustain my education. I went to Cagayan de Oro City, it is the closest and fastest growing metropolitan in Northern Mindanao.
I was invited to work as a sales clerk in a franchise branch of a cosmetics brand. I worked hard and tried adjusting to the changes in my life. I somehow understood and got used to the city and learned the hacks of life, but came November of 2009.
The May 2010 election was only months away and I was worried about not being able to renew my voter’s license. It was a necessity to do the registration before the end of 2009 so I would be able to participate in the, then, coming election. That was actually the first automated election that was why I did not want to miss that.
Deep in my thoughts I have planned on going home to materialize the registration and at the same time visit my family in the island.
I asked my boss to permit me to go home and she agreed. So I spent my 2009 holidays at my hometown but decided to extend my vacation until the May election since I was already loving my long vacation.
Four days before election, I rode my bicycle to fetch my cousin from another barangay to help us in harvesting our copras. I speeded down the terrain covered with long wild grass. And with the unexpected collision, my knees were seriously fractured. I fell but I stood up and walked my way to find rescue not knowing that my bold move of standing up worsened the cracks in my bones. That move seriously contributed to my orthopedic disability specifically patella and right femur fracture.
The next two years were a blend of hope and hopelessness. I still hoped that I could walk the way that I used to, but whenever I would think of my reality I knew we could not afford the medications. So in the following years, my right foot was not treated and the condition worsened. The lack of money and bereft of medical information deprived me of getting the right treatment and therapy.
My accident may be a misfortune but I see the silver lining in the bad that happened. Having my condition helped me discover myself even more. I was able to get out of my comfort zone because I was introverted my whole life. I began to accept the changes and I started to open up my life to more people. Now, I travel more with new found friends and participate more in PWD-related activities. I even improved my crafting skills. I maximized my time in improving my crochet skills and tried to make a living out of it.
I could say, that after my accident I have become a much better person. Sometimes, bad things happen to prepare us for the better things to come.
With the positive outlook I give myself, blessings and opportunities pour out. Apart from the consistent love and support from my friends and family, the Lord has given me the chance to finally train online to equip myself with virtual skills through the help of DICT and Virtualahan.
Even before my accident, I have always wanted to work in the BPO industry as a call center agent. And with this training, I am already a step closer. I am crossing my fingers for the plans I have laid for myself especially in helping my family in our little island.
Arlene is part of the last batch for 2018.
Apart from working online, she is selling her crafts too.
You may inquire through the contact details below: