MESSAGE: A bright smile like yours is enough to instantly lighten the burden in this world!
“It’s not heavy…it’s my livelihood!” This was Mang Noel’s jolly reply to me when I asked him about the heavy sack he carry on his back. Unmindful of the merciless sun, his smile can instantly brighten anyone he meets. Mang Noel is a hardworking farmer in our province. With seven children to raise, the hardships he endures are not at all evident with that toothy grin of his that can melt any stories of a hard life. Wiping his brow, he took a rest and told me his story.
His only livelihood is farming, and he gets his percentage based on the amount of crops he harvested. His family never owns their home. Every harvest season, he has to pay the landowner for the land they lease. One of his children is sick but still helps in the farming.
What’s amazing is that when he talks, he seems to enjoy work and sharing adventures with me. He doesn’t seem burdened in any way. Proud of his livelihood, he considers himself blessed to provide for his family. Every smile has a story. And this is Mang Noel’s story—it’s about hardships hidden behind a cheery smile.