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    Posted April 19, 2014 by
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    In praise of “other mothers”

    More from MClinAud

    Nely, Thru The Decades


    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     MClinAud has known Nelly since she was a little girl. Nelly was a housekeeper for many of her aunts and her mother, and today she helps MClinAud in her own home and business.

    "Since my mother died in 2000, she was there to assist me in household chores, in helping out in decision making, in dealing with family issues and stress," she said.

    But the greatest impact MClinAud says Nelly has had on her life was when her marriage was failing. "She taught me to deal with a failing marriage, and how to move on with life after my marriage failed," she said.
    - Verybecoming, CNN iReport producer

    Nely Mengote - Del Prado is a native of Samar province, Visayas. She left home, still a teen, in the early 70s for Manila because she found it difficult to finish school back home --- much walking on land and across rivers in order to reach school. Two of her aunts that I remember were already in Manila, one as our house help and caregiver, and the other one as a sewer in my maternal aunt's dress shop. She envied them of their new bags and clothes whenever they took vacations back home.

    Nely went to Manila with her mother's challenge in her mind. "You don't even know how to use a broom!", she vividly remembered her mother's words. She braved the households of Manila, with the burning desire to learn how to clean houses, wash clothes, and cook meals for a living.

    Each household Nelly went to was a source of her learning experience. She never took it against house owners whenever she was scolded for a wrong action. It was through these errors that she grew to be the best house help.

    When Nely finally crossed paths with my mother's family (siblings and a niece included), that was the start of her loyalty to the Lopez family. Whoever needed her service, she was always ready to help and serve, just like a girl scout.

    Nely's cooking skills were enhanced by keenly observing Uncle Cano's style in cooking. She helped in chopping the ingredients of his mouthwatering pork and beef dishes, while her aunt helped out in the cooking process. Moreover, she was trained by my mother how to clean the house, based on a daily schedule posted on our wall. She assisted her, too, in the family business, delivering cold cuts and dressed chicken to customers.

    My 2 maternal aunts and my mother were godmothers to her wedding in the early 80s. She still continued serving the Lopez families as she formed her own family. Her 3 children were like grandchildren to my aunts and mother. Whatever values she learned from them, she passed it on to her children.

    Years passed and I turned into an adult. Our paths met again in the 90s. I asked for help in cleaning our house once again. She lovingly served me and my parents, and my brothers and their respective families. As my mother reached her final year on Earth, together with my family, Nely was there to assist me with her needs.

    As I started my own speech therapy center in 2006, I did not have second thoughts on asking Nely to join me. Her loyalty, honesty and hard work were the ingredients that I needed in people for my center. Aside from work in the center, she continued to assist me in carrying out needs and wants of my aging father. It is a delight to hear her communicate with us in English (my father's first language), and a feast to enjoy her mouthwatering meals, so similar to my uncle's cooking in the olden days. However, her strictness, somewhat similar to my mother's, makes my eyes roll!

    Nely's whole being is molded by years of a variety of life's lessons. Some of it learned the hard way. She never fails to impart to me the courage to continue to attain life goals, to be frugal, and to enjoy the blessings of life no matter how simple it is.

    Wakes, funerals, weddings, birthdays, no occasion celebrations, moving places. She was there. She was and will always be family.

    (Photo taken at Camp John Hay, Baguio City on the 8th of April 2013.)

    GROUP: My Life
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