Convents, Communists, and Communication

Lessons learnt from Astrid S. Tuminez, a Filipino who grew up in a small village, travelled the world, and worked for a White House-initiated project to expedite peace in southern Philippines.

I was raised in a squalid neighbourhood of huts on stilts in the Philippines with six other siblings. We had no electricity, no running water, no radio and no television. My father earned just over US$100 a month, and at nearly six years of age, I did not know letters or numbers.

Not far from our neighbourhood was a Catholic convent school, one of the best in the city. One day, the nuns from this school were visiting poor families and distributing food such as canned goods, and they found my sisters and I. They thought we were clever and later invited us to attend their school for...

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