Source: Joan Hanawi


By Joan Hanawi | July 1, 2015
Before Alister, Rolando's life was drastically different.

He used to drink so much he wouldn’t be able to make it home. Much like the habits of many other young adults, he said he was always looking for the next party, the next crazy night, anything that didn’t resemble responsibility.

It got to the point where Rolando was drinking every night, every day. He lost his job as a security guard at one of the largest companies in town. He tried to leave his house so he wouldn’t have to adhere to the rules and preoccupations of his mother. He moved into his own apartment, but didn’t have a job to pay for rent.

“What no one tells you is that life can be really hard. Trying to make it on your own is hard," he said. "I came back to my mom's house crying after a few weeks.”

Rolando described this as being one of the lowest points in his life. He had no job, no money to pay back acquired debts, no ambition—but what he did have was a newborn son, whom he named Alister.

“Alister changed everything for me—he gave me a reason to live. He gave me a reason to stop drinking, and to start building a future.”

Rolando's life now is almost unrecognizable from what it was a few years ago.

He recently built his first house, which he paid for himself. It isn't entirely finished yet—he points to the missing bedroom doors, sparse furniture, curtain-less windows—but with the help of his family, he put the home together brick by brick. Alister has his own room, the house has a chicken coop, and the backyard is dotted with cacao trees.

He has a steady job at the Ministry of Public Health, and recently received a promotion.

He credits his success purely to his son.