An Outreach @ Gabihan

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When my sister Pauline was working on her thesis entitled; “I Survived; The Phenomenology of Ondoy Survivors, she was able to meet people who were greatly affected of the said typhoon. Typhoon Ondoy hit Metro Manila and its nearby provinces on September 26, 2009. In the news, we learned that many people lost their lives especially those who live in Providence Village in Marikina City. In my sister and her team’s research, they found out, that there were more unreported casualties in Tanay, Rizal. That paved way in finding the relocation site in Gabihan, Tandang Kutyo, Tanay Rizal.

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Instead of having a Christmas party, the praesidium (Legion of Mary) in which Pau, my cousin and our Tita Evelyn belong to, they decided to do an outreach program for the residence of Gabihan. They got donations from kind hearted people and from our barangay council. Most of the groceries were out of pocket expenses.

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Pauline and April re-packed the goods and used clothes into 40 bags. The following day, Tita Evelyn brought in more goods so while they are preparing for their trip, I helped Sis. Nida and Sis. Lori re-packed the rest of the groceries and rice. When I learned that they were only six women to go there, I decided to join them.

With God’s blessings and Mama Mary’s help, we didn’t have a hard time finding an empty jeepney which will take us to Tanay. The trip lasted for almost two hours. When we reached Barangay Tandang Kutyo, the barangay officials let us used their service going to Gabihan.

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The relocation site is being managed by Gawad Kalinga. The housing project is being helped by Teleperformance. There are certain categories before a family can truly own the house they are occupying and turn it into a concrete one.

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The houses that were provided to people affected by Ondoy are made of sawali wall and stainless roof.

The life there is simple yet, you know that people are having a hard time living. Most of the families in the area do not have any means of living. There are few who works in town, but most of them depend only for whatever help that will come from someone or from the government. I was really moved by how the people and the children look. It was Sunday morning, and yet you may not think that they came from sleeping. The children were deprived from food, from clothes, toys and shoes. Looking at them, I remember my daughter Antoinette, who in spite of paternal family issues, was never deprived of any of those things. Nonet has always food on her table. She has plenty of cookies in her jar. She has number of pairs of shoes and slippers; plenty of clothes to wear and toys. How grateful I am to the Lord. I realized that I shouldn’t be that extravagant anymore when it comes to buying Nonet clothes, toys and shoes. For there are so many children, who couldn’t even afford to have at least a pair. :(

There are around 250 registered families and we only got 40 grocery bags. We were able to add 20 little pales with 2 kilos of rice in each. That made a total of 60 goods to be given. Since, it is still not enough, we decided to have the goodies be raffled off.

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We know that the goods we gave them will not be enough for a week, at least, they would have something to eat for more than a day. We were told by the barangay secretary that what we have given is more than enough.

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It was tiring day yet we were all fulfilled. I learned to appreciate my life, my work, my family and everything that I have, more after that visit. :)

Ciao! :)

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