A Year After Yolanda: Padayon lang!

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Written By Sheena Ferrer, Writer, CBN Asia

Women say motherhood is the most beautiful and significantly life-altering event that can ever happen to them. Walking around with a fragile little creature inside your body for nine months can sound too risky for some, but for mothers, it’s just as normal as breathing and walking. And for Mina Billones of Brgy. San Jose, Palo, Leyte, there isn’t anything as beautiful and profound as being a mother to her children.

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Their everyday life in the mountains of Visayas is like a breath of fresh air; green trees are everywhere, clean water is free and overflowing, and vegetables and other root crops are free all year. However, when Typhoon Yolanda (International name Haiyan) came, everything changed. Their little nipa house and all their properties were washed away. Nothing was left except for the clothes that they were wearing.

They thought nobody would even dare to extend help, “One of the very first few organizations that helped us was Operation Blessing. They assisted us with our medical needs and gave us food to eat. They even stayed and shared the pain of seeing the typhoon aftermath. They didn’t leave us,” Mina shared.

Demo Farm

Being one of the organizations that stayed in Tacloban to oversee the needs of the typhoon victims, Operation Blessing continued to provide support and made sure that these people could stand on their own and have a stable source of income.

To make this happen, OB partnered with the Local Government Unit (LGU) of Leyte and built a Demo Farm in Palo where people can plant crops, vegetables, and fruits, and raise animals like pigs, cows, and goats among others. They have provided trainings for almost a hundred beneficiaries for them to work hands-on at the farm.

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One of the typhoon victims that benefited from the demo farm project is Nanay Mina. She has already experienced harvesting crops from the farm, “It’s really a blessing that OB thought of this project. Since Yolanda happened, we didn’t know where to get our food, but because of the farm, we were able to put food on our table and feed our hungry stomachs,” she said.

When asked what else she does for a living, she said, “I wash clothes. I do the laundry of my neighbors and use the money for my children’s expenses in school and other stuff I need to buy at home.”
Though it’s hard for them to believe that they have nothing left, they still thank God that they are complete and ready to face another life’s storm.

“Padayon lang!” (Seize the day! Just continue living,) she exclaimed.

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Right now, Operation Blessing Philippines’ Typhoon Yolanda Disaster Response efforts have already served a total of 805,361 individuals or 144,912 families in Samar, Leyte, Northern Cebu, Palawan, and Panay Island.

Do you want to help Nanay Mina and other typhoon victims in maintaining the demo farm? Call or text these numbers for more information on how to help in the ongoing disaster rehabilitation operations of Operation Blessing: (+632) 477-7806 or 0920 497 5558 or 0922 806 6922 and 0917 581 2603.

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