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Nympha of Cotabato City: ‘Everyone who can help should help’

Labing-isa (Eleven),” Nympha – who is still in her thirties – said with a hearty laugh. And no, “hindi yan taon na nagbibenta ako ng kakanin. Yan ang bilang ng anak ko (that’s not the number of years I’ve been selling ‘kakanin’/snack foods. That’s the number of my children).”

This may be because “maaga kasing nagsimulang mag-pamilya (I started having a family early),” she said, still with a laugh. “Hindi napigilan eh (My parents weren’t able to stop me).”

But – turning somewhat serious this time – this isn’t something she necessarily wants her kids to also do. “Hindi madali ang buhay kung may binubuhay ka na (Life isn’t easy the moment you start supporting someone).”

Nympha now makes a living selling “kakanin” in Cotabato City’s Supermarket. And “halos lahat ng mga anak ko, tumutulong sa iba’t ibang paraan (all my kids help in different ways),” she said. “Hindi puwedeng hindi; para sa kanila rin ito. Lahat ng makakatulong, dapat tumulong (Not helping isn’t a choice; this also benefits them. Everyone who can help should help).”

While she hopes for her kids not to necessarily follow her steps on marrying very early, wanting them to “unahin ang pag-aaral (prioritize schooling),” Nympha said she knows she can only teach them life lessons by living through hardships. “Nakikita nilang hindi madali kaya magsikap sila (They see how hard it can be so they should strive harder).”

And should they opt not to listen to her lessons, “hayaan na (we just let them be),” Nympha said, this time giving a hearty laugh again. “Kahit hindi mayaman, masaya na rin namang may malaking pamilya (Even if you’re not wealthy, it can also be fun having a big family).”

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