My brother-in-law Joery turned 37 the other day. Joery is married to my wife’s sister Alida. Alida turned 31 two days later. Joery and Alida along with my nieces Din-Din & Amiel, and nephew Joriel live in the nipa hut that he constructed in our front yard several years ago. He is a quiet, hardworking guy, always smiling, very pleasant, doesn’t understand much of my English, but I know a lot less of his language. He used to work as a bank security guard in Iloilo several years ago, but that job went away. A lot of things are political here (sound familiar), and sometimes you have to push some pesos to people to keep a job or to get one (sounds like some of our old Illinois governors George Ryan, and Blago, huh?)
Joery has been working on our construction crew to put in the new CR (Comfort Room aka bathroom) and new roof, but the work crew has been idle the last two weeks. Roy, our contractor/architect has been waiting on our local electric company to install a transformer that the welder is going to need to weld the new steel truss that will be put on the roof; the electric company has been dragging their feet, and we think someone over there is waiting for some cash to move things along faster. Roy sets the salaries for Joery and the crew according to the local going rate here so Joery has been working as a laborer on the crew for about $3.50 U.S. a day.
Yep, I said $3.50 U.S. a day. The carpenters on our crew make about $5.25 a day. That’s just the way it is here. Jobs are extremely hard to find, and people are grateful for whatever work they can get. Economic conditions are harsh for the majority here, but I hear no complaints and usually find very pleasant people wherever I go.
So Joery is watching the two youngest Joriel (age 3) and Amiel (age 2) that are not in school yet and does the laundry. Joery bathes the little ones right in our front yard by the well, and they sure squeal when those buckets of cold water cascade over them.
My sister-in-law Alida is a tutor, had a job at a private school but now tutors children at our home in a nipa hut in the back yard in the morning, and from 3 pm until around 8 pm goes to her students’ home to tutor. She makes about $1.40 an hour in U.S. so she does pretty well with the tutoring. Joery is Mr. Mom and quite OK with that since the Philippines is a very male dominated society as a whole, kind of what families were like in the 50’s back in the States. He keeps on smiling. That’s the Filipino way.