Please don’t missed out the first part, The Irreplaceable Lost
My mother sent my siblings to China where living standards were lower. She and I stayed in Cebu to work, and we sent them money regularly. My mother sold her jewelry. When that ran out, we sold roasted peanuts in the backyard of our much-smaller home. When that wasn’t enough, I opened a small stall in a WET MARKET. I chose one among several wet market a few miles outside the city because there were fewer goods available for the people there. I woke up at five o’clock every morning for the long bicycle ride to the wet market with my basket of goods.
There, I set up a table about three feet by two feet in size. I laid out my goods-soap, candles, and thread-and kept selling until everything was bought. Why these goods? Because these were hard times and this was a poor village, so people wanted and needed the basics-soap to keep them clean, candles to light the night, and thread to sew their clothes.
I was surrounded by other vendors, all of them much older. Many of them could be my grandparents. And they knew the ways of the wet market far more than a boy of 15, especially one who had never worked before.
But being young had its advantages. I did not tire as easily, and I moved more quickly. I was also more aggressive. After each day, I would make about 20 pesos in profit! There was enough to feed my siblings and still enough to pour back into the business. The pesos I made in the wet market were the pesos that went into building the business I have today.
After this experience, I told myself, “If I can compete with people so much older than me, if I can support my whole family at 15, I can do anything!”
Looking back, I wonder, what would have happened if my father had not left my family with nothing? Would I have become the man I am? Who knows?
The important thing to know is that life will always deal us a few bad cards. But we have to play those cards the best we can. And WE can play to win!
This was one lesson I picked up when I was a teenager. It has been my guiding principle ever since. And I have had 66 years to practice self-determination. When I wanted something, the best person to depend on was myself.