|by Glenda B. Gutierrez
For the Dormitory Assistants, the Kapatiran dorm is “home.” They say the camaraderie they developed among themselves makes them want to stay in Kapatiran forever. They say they simply cannot walk away from it.
Rowena “Weng” Gaffud, Fatima “Mommy Fath” Leoncio, Marilou “Malou” Angoluan, and Judith Ramirez, had been with the KKFI dormitory for 12, 11, 10 and 3 years, respectively.
“KKFI dormitory is my ‘home away from home’. I sleep more soundly in the dorm than in my own house,” says Mommy Fath.
Her fellow Dormitory Assistants, agreed. “KKFI is our family,” Malou states. “I will never exchange for anything the fun I experience here, although our job is no joke.”
The DAs take care of the more than 200 dormitory residents, mostly university students and reviewers staying in Kapatiran-Kaunlaran Foundation Inc. (KKFI). They say it requires an enormous amount of patience to do so because the new generation of young people are, well, different.
“The millennial kids are different,” Weng reveals. “The previous generations were more respectful and obedient.”
Indeed, taking care of residents requires a lot of patience. Mommy Fath narrated that there are residents who every now and then try break the curfew rule. They will wait for the on-duty DA to turn in for the night, then will try to elude the security guard on duty to exit the compound. Although they sometimes succeed in their misdeeds, they run the risk of being scolded once the DAs find out about what they did. The violators are often repentant, though, knowing that their house “mothers” have only their safety in mind.
Judith vividly remembers the time when a resident got sick. “I had to bring a resident to the hospital. I had to stay with her for the whole night in the hospital. I even advanced the money for medicines.”
She says they have to suffer through hunger and sleeplessness during those times of emergency. She, however, quips that those sacrifices were part of the job.
There are upsides, however. “There were cases when they give us food as a token of gratitude for bringing them to the hospital,” Judits says.
Kapatiran is indeed “home.” “We had petty quarrels like real families but these are quickly resolved,” says Mommy Fath. “The staff are like real brothers and sisters. The residents are my children.”
“I remember when a resident gave me a bouquet made of Choc-Nut chocolates for Valentine’s Day. It was like my own child giving me a gift,” recounts Mommy Fath.
“It is fun to serve,” says Weng. “We explain to the residents that their payments are used for programs and services when they check-in.”
The memorable events for the Dorm Assistants are the parties and the Friday movie marathons while having dinner. They say sharing a meal with the residents is, indeed, memorable. Despite the hardships and the petty quarrels, Kapatiran dorm is “home” where everyone is happy. As Malou describes the feeling: “Walang hanggang kasiyahan.”