Jocelyn Fernandez – Region IX

I am Jocelyn Fernandez, a health worker from Zamboanga City.

I grew up in a poor family and never had the chance to wear beautiful clothes.My birthdays were rarely celebrated. However, having a good health is a gift and it was good that I was sent to school. I always dreamt of being a nurse at this young age and never thought of poverty as a hindrance.

We transferred here in Zamboanga when I was in Grade 6.I started working at the age of 12.In highschool to be able to have extra money, I just walked from our house to school, accepted drawing job and did research assignments & projects of my classmates. It continued until college.

I had a happy highschool life, but it’s an irony of what was happening in our home. My parents always quarrelled on simple things and I couldn’t even have a voice on this matter. So I just cried with no one to tell what I was going through.

When I graduated high school, I took an entrance exam in a university even if I didn’t know whether I could continue schooling or not. Some discouraged me by telling that things might be easy on my mind but I couldn’t afford to pursue it. But I was lucky enough to passed the entrance exam for a nursing course in the university. As a preparation, I started collecting old notebooks and compiled these to have a new set of notebook. I used my aunt’s old uniform, shoes and bag. I never experienced wearing a new school uniform but I didn’t mind it.

On my 2nd year in college, I applied for a scholarship. However, the sponsor told me to shift to an education course if I wanted to get the scholarship. Then I explained to him how I really wanted the nursing course. Luckily, the sponsor granted me the scholarship upon seeing my eagerness. One of my advisers also sponsored my nursing cap and pin, our college dean also gave me the PHN bag, and my classmates offered notebooks and stockings. Another adviser provided me an allowance and food at the canteen. One adviser also paid for the “capping” on my 2nd year without the support of my parents. I did my homeworks at night using candle. And it all went well without them noticing my problems because I always sang songs or cracked jokes to people.

I took my OJT at Zamboanga City Medical Cenfer which was previously called Zamboanga General Hospital.

I used to look happy until I grew keeping my problems to myself. I got depressed, I never laughed any more and stopped talking to my relatives and friends. And it worsened when my father died with a gunshot wound.

I came to think what held my vanity. I didn’t want to get crazy and walk naked on the streets, but depression is not a joke. Because of it, I was not able to finish college and I honestly regretted it.

At the age of 20, I found my partner in life and I gave birth to a baby boy. Life didn’t get easy for us. I went to Riyadh when my eldest was 3 months old (in 1996). Left again for Jeddah when my 2nd born was a year old (1998), to Malaysia when my daughter stepped her first year(2002) and went to Dammam before I got pregnant with my youngest. To raise them, I sold yakult and plants at the sidewalk (with the police running after us), did housekeeping, made isaw and everything that let me earn for a living.

In 2012, I enrolled in Brent. My relatives kept on telling at me to stop schooling because they believe that I was too old for it. But it never discouraged me, in fact, I completed my Health Care Vocational Course. Starting then, I worked as a caregiver at night and a mother at day time.

It was 2015 when I volunteered working in health center. I managed my time as a caregiver at night, a housekeeper or volunteer health worker at daytime. I just went home to change clothes. Being a mother became difficult for me. I worked to give them good future but I couldn’t take care of them.

So instead of focusing on the negativities of life, I searched for solutions to my problems. I started training as reservists on my Sundays and joined the choir to fill up my weeks.Then i joined the TBpeople as an advocate.I’ve met them through a PWTB who had underwent treatment in our facility.TBpeople have added sense to my being as a person by helping others overcome this disease.

Life is a battle.Having a positive outlook and a sense of mission helped me have a better vision for future.

Background of Jocelyn Fernandez, Representative of Zamboanga

More videos of Jocelyn:

Jocelyn on ‘What is DSTB?’ Part 1

Jocelyn on ‘What is DSTB?’ Part 2

Jocelyn on ‘What is DSTB?’ Part 3

Jocelyn on ‘What is DSTB?’ Part 4

Jocelyn on ‘What is DSTB?’ Part 5

Jocelyn on ‘What is DRTB?’

Jocelyn on ‘What is ITR?’