“Roman, I am not pressuring you to work… But if you have the time, then please…”
That would always be my mother’s request. And what can I do but follow? I didn’t have a choice. At the age of 13, I would go to trips with my father at the construction site where he works.
He always made it clear to his bosses and co-workers that he wasn’t forcing me to go with him, and I explained the same. The last thing I would want is for them to think that I have an unconcerned father.
I worked as hard as I could. Pulling the barrels, assisting the others, and collecting materials necessary for mixing cement. It was tough and I was always tired from it all. I stopped going to school when I realized I should just focus my time here than wasting my parent’s money on tuition fees.
One day, an accident happened to one of my father’s co-workers in the construction site… George was unable to balance the barrel he was holding and therefore fell on the pile of rocks before him and he went tumbling down. He was severely injured, and none of the others knew what to do.
I felt so horrible because I was just standing there, frozen, and I was helpless… I later learned that George could no longer be a part of the team, and now his family is suffering because they don’t have a source of income.
My desire to help that day motivated me to look for people who could treat other people’s injuries. I went through the district and was able to meet someone, Lynn, whose main purpose in the village is to be a nurse.
None of us can afford hospitals here. I asked her to train me on how to do such things, so that when I went back to the construction site, I wouldn’t be helpless anymore.
I tried to be the construction team’s first aid boy. I was surprised with how many accidents happen to them in a daily basis. I tried my best to clean their wounds, dress them, and nurse them back to health. The whole experience was so gratifying and I was very proud of myself.
My Boss Inspired Me
One day, and important client went to oversee our construction, and he saw what I was doing…
“Little boy, what’s your name?”
“Roman, Sir.” I stood up and brushed all the dirt on my face. The boss was looking at me with equal parts pity and admiration.
“Roman, I’d like you to come with me.”
“Where are we going, Sir?”
The boss, Stanley Cross, talked to my father about it. I couldn’t hear, but my father kneeled and thanked Stanley profusely. He looked at me and said, “Be good, boy.” I was then whisked to a world I never dreamed to reach.
Mr. Cross gave me the opportunity to be an intern in missionaries, helping the less fortunate gain access to quality health services. I was at awe with the things I learned and discovered, and felt like I was studying too, learning from my co-interns… It was a wonderful and blessed experience.
I kept going up the ranks through the years… I was no longer just an intern but one of the heads in the missionary. We started a project of putting up clinics rather than tents to have more space, and we were supported by a lot of donations. That clinic multiplied, and after many more years, became hospitals.
Now, over a decade later, I am 32 years old and no longer Roman of the construction site. I am no longer helpless and afraid—but now Dr. Roman Alonzo, with a purpose and mission.
I could not thank Mr. Cross enough for rescuing me from a lifetime of mediocrity. Now I am able to reach more people and heal them with my hands.
I’m happy to say that my parents and sisters have all benefited from this, too. I bought us a quiet home in the suburbs, and we are all very content. Until now, we haven’t forgotten to pray and thank the Lord for all the blessings He has rained upon us.