The American Dream
He's bright, articulate and driven. He will make it someday.
On this day, though, his future is uncertain. The government-sponsored college savings fund his aunt has been contributing to since he was a child is bankrupt, another product of Philippine governmental corruption. His plight is shared by thousands of other young aspiring Filipinos today. Jason discovered the lack of funds only yesterday, in the same week he was to enroll in a private college specializing in nursing studies. The dream he was about to embark on this June -- to be the first in his family to attend college -- will have to be put on hold. There is no money to send him to school.
Jason is my host brother. Just last week, we spoke about how important it was for him to go to college. At 17, he knows his goals in life. He is wise beyond his years. Because of the shortage of nurses in the U.S., Jason knows a degree in nursing could land him a job and a ticket to America. The money he makes there can be sent back home to support his family. It's a lot of pressure on a 17-year-old kid. He understands this, too.
This somehow seems so unfair. A right of passage many Americans take for granted is so elusive to kids like Jason. Yet, it was within his grasp and a government plagued by corruption and debt snatched it away. And yet I'm sure I will encounter many more stories like Jason's along my way here, each one as heartbreaking as the other. Perhaps someday it will make some sense.