Written by Jord Earving Gadingan, Volunteer Writer, Operation Blessing Philippines
After every strong typhoon, scraped roofs, collapsed houses, and displaced families are common sightings.
When the disaster response team of Operation Blessing reached Brgy. San Rafael East, Sta. Maria, Isabela, they have encountered an uncommon thing to see: a family staying underneath a roof literally.
It was the family of Fortunato Marayag. Unlike other roofing, which is made of galvanized iron, theirs is just made up of cogon – a very light material for a super typhoon to destroy. Unfortunately, it was not just their roof that was destroyed but their whole house had collapsed. Fortunato and his whole family are now staying just under the bunk space that their collapsed roof had made, plainly a roof shelter. It was dark inside and quite inconvenient but they don’t have any other choice.
Fortunato, a father of six children and a farmer by trade, was saddened by the tragedy. Fortunately, he harvested his crops earlier but unable to reach the breakeven point since the harvest season was not yet done. His wife, Jenny, was crying after seeing their home destroyed, she was just encouraged by her children that together, they would be able to rebuild their home little by little. However, rebuilding would take some time to happen because of lack of financial capacity. They have gathered already some woods to eventually start the rebuilding of their home.
Though financially-challenged, all of Fortunato’s children are in school. Jaymar, 20, is currently a sophomore in Isabela State University taking up Agriculture and blessed with a scholarship. Jelly Ann, 11, is now a Grade 7 student in Sta. Maria Central School. “Education is the most precious thing that we can provide for our children,” Jenny said. She is hopeful that through education, their quality of life shall improve in the coming years.
An optimistic Fortunato knows that there are storms we cannot weather and that a farmer just needed to till his field again. He was so thankful for the solar lamp that they have received from Operation Blessing. It will be a great help for his children when they do their schoolwork at home. It will also make their space under the roof brighter.
Through the generosity of many, we were able to send our supplies and teams to disaster-stricken areas in Kalinga and Isabela. But we need YOUR HELP to be one step ahead! Donate now to our General Fund to help us gather resources and mobilize volunteers for OB outreach projects. Call us at 477-7806 or visit www.obphil.com to learn how you can help.