It’s four o’clock in the morning, the place is quiet and peaceful. The only sound audible is the alternating crows of the roosters echoing through the valleys signaling a bright new day is about to break out. A day full of hope and inspirations.
Meet Randy Custodio, 35, years old, an Account Specialist, in Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, an Overseas Filipino Worker. From Ilaya Bulo, Province of Quezon, Philippines.
Hailed from a rural Province of Quezon, where his family’s means of living is through farming. Randy is next to the eldest among the six siblings. As a child, Randy would help his father on their farmland by doing activities like planting agricultural products, harvesting coconuts and other crops.
Life is quite hard for the young boy, he had learned to be responsible at the early age. Aside from helping on their farm, Randy also does household chores, and during the weekends, instead of playing with his friends, Randy would help his mother selling banana and camote (sweet potato) cues in the downtown to supplement their income.
Despite their poor condition, Randy had time to study his lessons and very active at schools and often participating in school activities. In fact, graduated with honors on his primary education.
Needs to Suspend his Studies Due to Financial Issue
The young boy was so excited after finishing his primary school knowing he will be in high school soon. However, his happiness turned upside down when his parents told him not to continue in high school for the meantime due to they’re unable to support them both his sister and him are studying together.
Though it’s difficult for him to accept, Randy had to understand their situation openly. At this time, their family moved to another place where there was no electricity, no means of any public transportation (except for the horse that they had) and 30 minutes away from the nearest grocery store.
Out of school now, Randy had to help his father tilling their farm, their only source of income. Although not studying, he had never forgotten to review his old notes, reading his sisters books about poems and stories. It’s an indication of how he passionately loves studying. A rare attitude of a typical boy compared to today’s younger generation.
High School Life
Finally, after her sister graduated high school, his turn was up to continue his study again. Every day he had to wake up at 5:00 o’clock in the morning to prepare his meal, at 6:00 A.M. everything is ready and had to start his three kilometers walk from his residence to his school which would take him more than 30 minutes back and forth, since there were no other means of transport.
Randy had continued this daily school routine regardless of the challenges along the way. Being in a tropical region where super typhoons and storms frequently lambasting the country, Randy had gone through these experiences rain or shine while undertaking high school.
But despite all of these, he had never backed out for he believed in the value of education and this might be the ultimate way to conquer poverty. After fours years of battling the unfriendly weather, he had completed his secondary school with flying colors graduated Salutatorian.
A New Challenges to Encounter
Though a potential young lad, he had once again need to suspend his college due to his family’s financial difficulties. Although graduated with honors, being in a remote rural village, Randy was oblivious of any academic programs such as scholarships offered for those graduated with excellent grades.
Randy can’t help but felt envy with his classmates and friends already in college while himself is schooling in the farmland, and instead of paper and pen on his hands, he got bolo knife with him. During his solitary, his ultimate refuge was his faith in God that one day everything will come into place according to His plan.
Not long after, his relative helped him apply for an academic scholarship in one of the finest colleges in their hometown. He immediately went to the school with the hope that this might be the ultimate opportunity he’s been waiting to pursue his studies. Sadly his last hope crumbled into pieces, he went back home heartbroken, the college minimum number of students must be 100.
Frustrated by the outcome of his application, Randy learned to accept the truth that there was no other easy way to fulfill his dream to study in college. For him it’s over now, he was hopeless and desperate. Well, perhaps there might be reasons for everything Randy thought.
The Awaited Opportunity
Just when he had least expected a new sparkle of hope came by surprised! Randy was granted a full scholarship in the university offering assistance to deserving, talented, and indigent students provided that he’s going to maintain certain grades to continue the scholarship. The poor boy’s happiness was indescribable, leaping for joy, at last, he could continue his study now.
However, his being in college didn’t come easy – to reciprocate the school’s generosity Randy had to perform various works at school while studying. Although fully loaded, he was able to maintain high grades and oftentimes on the top and constantly in the “Dean’s list” every semester. The timid young man started to build self-confidence and even moved closer to his faith.
In the fourth year in college prior to his graduation day, everyone was surprised at school when Randy was offered a job in the college where he was studying. Baffled by the job offer, he was speechless and wondered how and why, later on, he found out that he was recommended to work at school due to his dedication, hard works, and excellent records.
The First Blessings
After four years of fighting against all odds, Randy had achieved the fruit of his labor, he had completed his degree in Bachelor of Science in Computer Science. A degree that only a few successfully passed in college. As he walked towards the stage, his heart was overwhelmed with pride and joy, tears suddenly fell from his innocent eyes.
Randy hugged his parents tightly while they were all in tears of happiness. Randy eventually worked in the college as a Librarian Staff, after completing four years of his beloved Alma Mater. Randy bid goodbye and decided to find a greener pasture.
Adjusting to the New Found Land
In 2010, he had successfully landed his first job in Saudi Arabia as a Work Controller in a Real Estate Company. Though it was difficult for him to leave his loved ones and his family back home. He had endured the pain of homesickness and the transition of adjusting to the new environment. After his two years contract, Randy decided to leave his company and applied for a better opportunity.
Not long after being home, he had been accepted once again to work in Saudi Arabia in a multi-national company based in Riyadh, as a Client Account Specialist. Through his hard work and diligence at work, he had been constantly awarded as “Best Operations Performer” and a certificate of appreciation in recognition for his best practices and high professionalism in dealing with his workmates.
Provided his Family A House to Live
Through his job abroad Randy was able to build a new house for his family back home and extremely proud to have her sister graduated from college whom he had supported financially. After his contract was ended, Randy applied for another much better opportunity in Riyadh and hired as Key Account Specialist.
He’ll be finishing his contract on the next following months and wish to take his annual vacation soon. He’s now very excited to go home and see his family, likewise to see the parcel of land he’s going to buy to put up his own dream house someday and to start his own family in the future.
“God is good, without faith and trust we are nothing. Never quit, and bear in mind that God is always there watching over us. Determination, patience, courage, and faith are my secrets why I’m here right now, God’s clock is never late nor early, it always strikes on the right time,” Randy.
I have learned a lot from Randy’s story. What have you learned from Randy’s experiences? Let me know on the comment box below!
The author is currently based in Saudi Arabia, the holiest land of Islam. He’s a full-time employee of the largest energy company in the world. He’s a graduate of Communication Management, loves to write and travel.