13 and counting

by Evans Yonson

madrid – i don’t believe in bad luck nor in good luck. everything happens for a reason. but there is one instance in my life that would make me think again.

Lucky? Or unlucky? Some days burn. Some don´t. But in 1976, everything else turned black smoke in our grandparents´place.

13th february 1976. friday. cagayan de oro used to be a very small city. we practically knew who lived where and with whom. we knew who lives 10 blocks away from your street. everybody just knew each other then.

we live in a compound with my maternal grandparents. it’s a big space and in it are two houses – theirs and ours. theirs is a lot bigger. they lived upstairs and rented out the space below to two families.

life in cagayan de oro was tranquil. the tallest building then was the 6-storey science center building of xavier university. no fastfood chains. no megacenter. no other city. no night cafes. no pollution. under martial law.

mamang and papang were taking care of my cousin, jim. nanay was on a trip to the outskirts of the city. manoy, diko, jjosh and i were in school. vya was left with the help.

one of the families living below played with the electric wirings. and suddenly, around 10AM, shortly after school recess, 15 streets away from school, we saw black smoke from our classroom windows. i don’t know what i was feeling that day but i had the instinct of going down the school’s registrar’s office and called home. lo and behold, my grandparents’ house was on fire.

i had to run home and when i got there, i saw nothing but black and smoking debris. the house where nanay and everybody in the indino family grew up was gone. no amount of crying could bring their home back. and it took them almost two years to rebuild the house.

Definitely one of Africa´s 13 most wanted...

today is the 18th september 2005, and 13 days away more. all i have now is the burning desire to get out this concrete building which i called my house for the past 12 months. i hope it will not take me another two years to build my new home in europe.