lola delia

A tale of a woman’s perseverance to attain education.

Married at the age of thirteen, and experienced every hardship as a young mother. Unable to read and write, and afraid to express her thought knowing she had nothing in her pocket of knowledge but experiences.

Nanay Delia Tusan, 60-year-old and a pure-blooded B’laan woman and native of Brgy. Nagpan, Malungon, Sarangani Province. Nanay Delia as everyone is calling her, has 3 children, one girl, and 2 boys. Her grandchildren are currently enrolled in Grade IV and Grade III at New Society Central Elementary School.

Never in Nanay Delia’s wildest dreams that she would get into this part of her life, where she will choose to go back to school and start from Kinder as part of the K to 12 programs, knowing her age.  April 11, 2016-Summer Reading and Math Camp “recoreda” was conducted by New Society Elementary School followed by the opening program headed by Maam Gloria S. Tolentino. After the program, children, together with their parents proceed to their respective grade levels for assessment. In which, each child will undergo an interview before the formal enlistment to the program.

Nanay Delia joined other parents and went to the usual interview and she gave all the details asked by the teacher about her granddaughter. Afterward, when the teacher said “next!” which means she will proceed with the next interviewee, Nanay Delia fearlessly said, “Ako pud Maam, pa enroll pud ko” (I would like to enroll also Maam.). To the teachers surprise, she paused for a while and smiled to Nanay Delia and referred the case to the principal of the school.

Later on, the principal arrived and ask Nanay Delia why she wants to enroll and she answered, “gusto naku makat-on ug basa kay gusto naku nga dili ko malimbugan sa akong boto Ma’am.”(I really want to know how to read because I don’t want to be deceived this coming 2016 Elections Ma’am), Nanay Delia likewise added “labi na ang akong boto sapagka- Presidente Ma’am.” (Especially my vote in the position of President, Ma’am) Ms. Tolentino was amazed by her answer and enrolled her as one of the campers in the school reading and math camp program.

Every day Nanay Delia goes to school unhesitant to participate and never think of her age as a problem, she carefully listens just like a kindergarten pupil from identifying letters and its sounds, and counting numbers from 1-100, Nanay Delia never stopped.

For the rest of the camp, Nanay Delia never missed any day and attended all the classes and even made her homework. One day the teacher presented all the names of the Presidential candidates and noticeably, Nanay Delia went across the board and wrote and recognized the name of the Presidential aspirant Rodrigo Duterte.

Before the end of the summer reading camp, Nanay Delia shared her experiences without hesitation. She said, she was very happy to be in school and knowing her age and all the understatements about her, those will never stop her “Kabalo ko tiguwang na kayo ko apang dili ko mo undang hangtod makatuon ko” (I know I am old but I will not stop until I will learn) with tears in her eyes.

Everyone during the closing of that summer reading camp was in deep silence and some cried seeing an old woman standing on that stage and making importance on the time she had.

One parent who had heard the story of Nanay Delia was captivated by the strength that Nanay Delia possesses and decided to enroll at the same grade level as Nanay Delia. Her name is Nanay Angelie, a 39 – year old woman. Nanay Delia told her “Pag eskwela day para dili ka mag – mahay, bata pa ka.”(You should also go to school because you had a lot of days ahead of you, you’re still young).

From an ordinary woman, Nanay Delia is now an inspiration and a peddler of hope to those who thought they were left behind by the educational opportunities in this country.

Later on, different media flocked in the school to spread the news and was even broadcasted on the national television and reached the ears of the officials of the Department of Education, Secretary Armin Luistro congratulated the school, especially its prime movers, the Principal, Maam Gloria S. Tolentino and Asst.-To-The-Principal, Mr. Ricky S. Nino with 80 more than teachers of the school for a job well done.

At present, Nanay Delia, together with Nanay Angelie, is currently enrolled in kindergarten with Maam Divine Jabile as their adviser. The principal offered them to be in the reading recovery program and Alternative Learning System (ALS) but they want to graduate under the K12 Program.

Now Nanay Delia, with Nanay Angelie, is treading the alleys of the school making their dreams to be literate and educated women someday.


(Benjie Dumidel)

TI New Society Central Elementary School