A boy whose dream is to catch dragonflies

“I’ll give you worms,” Austine, 7, quips.

Worms? He then showed the ‘worms’, a pack of gummy candies in various colors and shapes such as worms and bears.

“Here, take this one,” Austine says, extending his right arm to give a yellow worm dipped in sugar.

Austine is a cousin of World Vision sponsored child and former child leader, Yuri, 18. Whenever the latter is on break from doing his module, he and Austine would play.

“Sometimes, I’d tease him until he cries,” Yuri says laughing.

Yuri and Austine would go walk in the community at times, chat with neighbours and friends. Sometimes they would just stay home and play or tinker on their mobile phones.

Austine and another cousin would imitate dances on Tiktok. “He knows how to dance. Show them a sample dance, Austine,” Yuri says.

Austine took a phone, played a song, and dance. Yuri laughs.

Yuri enjoys being with his younger cousins. “They remind me of the time when I was facilitating children during World Vision training.”

Yuri, who is now in Grade 12, wants to take Political Science course. “I wanted to promote justice, defend people who cannot defend themselves.”  He says he got the idea from joining World Vision events.

“I also wanted to grow up!” Austine yells. “And catch many dragonflies!” Yuri laughs.

 

Yuri, 18, a World Vision sponsored child and former child leader, treasures the memories he has of attending youth-oriented events. Inspired by what he learned from World Vision, Yuri wanted to take up Political Science to promote justice.

 

 

 

Growing up without parents

Yuri and Austine live in a fishing village where opportunities for both parents and children are limited.  Both children grew up with their grandmother, Norma, who’s already in her 70s. Austin’s parents work in another town and would only come on occasion.

Yuri, on the other hand, never met his father. The latter left the family even before Yuri was born. Yuri’s mother, Barbara, 39, recently found a job as maintenance staff in a nearby school. She alone raises Yuri and helps her second husband who suffered a stroke. Barbara earns a monthly salary of Php5,000 ($100), which oftentimes stretched thinly to buy food and medicines for the family.

Growing up without the presence of their parents most of the time, Yuri and Austine grow close, almost like a sibling. Yuri understands the longing that Austine sometimes feels.

Whenever Yuri left home to join World Vision events, Austine would feel sad. But Yuri would come back home with lots of stories to tell like what it feels like to ride an airplane, what Manila looks like, and the delicious food that he ate.

“I would share stories the inside of a airplane and the beautiful hotel rooms. I shared with my mother and Austine how those things are so different from where we live. I also shared with them the friends I met in the training, and how I feel sad that we parted ways at the end of the training,” Yuri shares.

“Let’s play clay, Kuya Yuri,” Austine calls, holding colorful clays on his hand. (Kuya is Filipino word for older brother.)

“That’s not yours,” Yuri says. The clay belongs to their other cousin, a year older than Austin.

But Austine didn’t listen. He took all the colors and started to rub them on his palms. Yuri joins and shows Austine how to create shapes.