“You’ll see me cleaning around – in the restroom, in the hallway, in the classroom. I’ve been working as a janitor here in UB for 16 years now. In those 16 years, I’ve been lucky enough to have been able to send my children to school.”
“Our eldest is Joanne. She is a graduate of the UB School of Teacher Education. Our second is Kevin. He is a graduate of the UB School of Criminal Justice and Public Safety. Janray is the youngest; he is a third year tourism student here in the University.”
“I finished BS Criminology, and I wanted to be a police officer. But I was caught in a car accident and I broke my hips, making me permanently impaired. It limited my options in looking for a job. It limited me from dreaming bigger dreams, too. But that’s okay. I have my children – they’re my biggest success. Sometimes life has a weird way of surprising you, especially when you’re close to crashing down.”
“I was a member of the UB Cardinals basketball team during college, and we competed in several competitions. Those were some of the best days of my life.”
What’s the biggest lesson life has taught you/is teaching you?
“Given the condition I’m in, it is quite difficult for me to initiate bigger things in my personal life and to perform excellently in my job. But what’s important is that you’re giving it all in whatever it is that you’re doing, big or small.”
What’s your piece of advice for this generation?
“Do yourself a favor and finish your studies. We are in an era where our culture has started to collapse. Getting an education will keep your sanity and sense of humanity alive.”
Mang Odet was honored, along with 19 others, in a recognition ceremony for "inspiring others that there is hope, whatever the circumstances [may be] at present." The tribute, held in the City, was organized by Istorya ng Pag-asa, a photoblog officially run by the office of Vice President Leni Robredo. VP Robredo handed Mang Odet a copy of his story signed by her during the ceremony.
Interview by RONA LIN & JAN FITZ BULAYUNGAN
Text by JAN FITZ BULAYUNGAN
Photo by DONALD RENTIQUIANO
BLOG EDITOR: RONA LIN