Written By Relia Gariando, Visayas Agriculture Coordinator, Operation Blessing Philippines
His name is Edwin Maula, 43 years old, a husband to Mylene Maula, 39 years old and a father to 5 children. They live in Sitio Purisima, Brgy. Guindapunan, Palo, Leyte. He was a construction worker before typhoon Yolanda came, earning 250/day which was not enough for their daily consumption.
To address this problem, he had to find part time jobs such as driving a pedicab, driving a friend’s tricycle and peddling fish around the village. Because of his diligence, he saved enough money for the down payment of a brand new tricycle. This was his routine until Yolanda came.
During typhoon Yolanda, they had to evacuate to a safer place since their house was not that strong compared to the other new concreted houses in their neighborhood. They waited nervously as the strong winds swept their place.
A day after Yolanda, Edwin and his family decided to go back home even if they were still traumatized. He cried when he saw that his house, like most other houses in their neighborhood, was totally washed out, except for his tricycle which was not yet fully paid.
Days and weeks passed, until help from different organizations came. He suddenly realized that his experience with the super typhoon was not a tragedy but a blessing. Yes, it was indeed a blessing because his old, ugly and dilapidated house which he was planning to repair would be replaced with a new stronger and decent one from another organization. His tricycle survived and would be a great help to provide their daily needs. It was also a blessing that his family members are complete,unlike others who lost their loved ones.
He was also chosen as one of Operation Blessing’s beneficiaries in our organic farming livelihood program in our demo farm in Palo. He was hesitant at first since he had no experience in agriculture so he first observed until he learned the techniques in organic farming using organic fertilizers and pest control.
He now earns every time the harvested crops are sold, and is still learning at the same time. He appreciates that he can now bring home non-toxic vegetables to his family. He is now planting more organic crops in their backyard, applying what he learned from our demo farm. He is planting, learning, earning and even enjoying the time he spends with the rest of the group which he now considers a new group of friends.