Written By Neyzielle Ronnicque Cadiz, Writer, Operation Blessing Philippines
When an Operation Blessing team visited most of the far-flung areas of the municipality of San Luis in Batangas to scout for possible wheelchair beneficiaries, they found him lying half-naked on a wooden bed, waiting for his younger sister to attend to his needs.
For a child who barely sees people visiting their house, hiding is an initial instinct, but he can only crawl within the space of his bed and can never really go anywhere.
It was indeed a rare sight for Joven Galay, 9, who was born with polio and spent his entire childhood lying on the wooden bed outside their house provided just for him. He can’t take good care of himself. He only depends on his younger siblings because they usually are the ones who are always at home to look after him.
His father, 41-year old Jamsee, is a stay-in construction worker who earns 250 pesos a day, six days a week. Most times, he also needs to work even on Sundays to provide for his family. His mother, on the other hand, washes the clothes of their neighbors, but she needs to go to at least three houses a day in order for her to help put food on their table. In fact, starvation is normal for them.
“Walang natitira sa amin, kasya lang para sa upa at pagkain namin (We are always left with nothing, only enough money for our rent and food),” shared Jamsee.
“Yung tinapay na binibigay sa trabaho, hindi ko kinakain. Inuuwi ko pa para kainin niya. (I never eat the bread they give us at work, I save it and take it home for him to eat),” Jamsee sadly added.
With their expenses, the Galay family cannot buy a wheelchair because for them, it is a luxury they can’t afford.
Jamsee then asked for an old stroller from his workmate. The stroller is an improvised wheelchair for Joven, using a fish net as his seat and lap belt. It now serves as Joven’s mode of transportation in going inside their home because his sisters are too small and thin to carry him when their parents are not home.
A day after the team visited Joven, he received his gift of mobility. During the turnover ceremony, Joven was so happy that he even asked (by hand signal) for an OB staff to sit beside him, never letting her go. When it was his turn to receive his wheelchair, his mother cried out of joy. “Thank You, Lord sa tulong. Ang bait mo po talaga (Thank You, Lord for the love! You are really so good)”, Obdulia whispered.
The happiness seen in the eyes of Joven was priceless. Though he cannot talk, one can tell how happy he was that day because it was the beginning of his freedom of mobility.
The wheelchairs from Free Wheelchair Mission benefited 14 differently-abled people from San Luis, Batangas alone that day. Help us extend more gifts of mobility to our least- reached fellowmen. Partner with us today and together, we bring out the long-lost smiles of the underprivileged ones in our community. Call us at 477-7802 to 04 and 06 or visit us at www.obphil.com/home to know more about our healthcare projects.