Skip to main content

A farewell to alms



WHAT did not kill some five million people-- super typhoon Yolanda mauled them to an inch of their lives—will likely toughen them. They have withstood. They will stand. They will move on with their lives.

Vegetable vendor Clarissa Bueno, 42, is eyeing a P10,000 loan to go back to tending her stall at a market in a town adjacent to Tacloban. With that seed money, she hopes to recoup her losses and send two of her children back to school—one is a grade 7 student, another is a criminology freshman.

A father to six children, 31-year-old fisherman Diorico Cordoves says he needs P20,000 to buy a five-horsepower diesel engine and a small boat to fit it to. He avers with resolve: “I could provide for our daily needs and my children will be happy.”

He has no house to go back to. But all it takes for farmer Geronimo Dawat, 49, is about, he reckons, P60,000. With such a sum, he sees that he can get back on his feet, bring back to life a three-hectare spread of rice paddies that he rents.

Most of the other nameless Yolanda victims have a life to live and livelihoods to regain—the packs of relief goods that will fall into their hands will merely hush their hunger for a time. They deserve more than a few kilos of rice, tins of sardines, packets of instant noodles, and hand-me-down clothes.

"If we want to avoid entire regions of the country having to rely on food aid, we need to act now to help vulnerable families to plant or replant by late December," says a top official of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

FAO plans are afoot to supply seeds for rice and corn, including tools, fertilizer and irrigation equipment. Too, "families will also receive vegetable seeds to help bridge the gap before the next harvest," it added.

In Bicol, Albay threw open its doors to adopt 10,000 Yolanda victims to be housed in newly built evacuation centers. Provincial Governor Joey Salceda, helped out by the region’s Office of Civil Defense and the Department of Social Welfare and Development will see to their needs for 12 months—or until the victims’ homes have been rebuilt.

Conservative estimates peg at 500,000 the number of shelter units that needs to be built for some 2,000,000 rendered homeless by the super typhoon. At a modest P250,000 cost per shelter unit, the government needs to cough up a tempting sum for the venal to drool at-- P125 billion.

The homeless need homes to dwell in but the hardiest of Yolanda survivors are setting their minds on things less costly than a P250,000 abode.

A vegetable vendor is keen on P10,000 seed money to re-start her modest mode of keeping body and soul together.

A fisherman father of six hankers for P20,000 with which to ply the seas anew and bring food to the family table.

A man of the soil is setting his sights on P60,000 loan to raise crops anew and renew a life shook up by a storm.

Each is bidding a farewell to alms.

Tough conditions bring out the toughness in people. And when the going gets tough, indeed, the tough gets going.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Every single cell of my body's happy

I got this one from Carmelite Sisters from whose school three of my kids were graduated from. They have this snatch of a song that packs a fusion metal and liebeslaud beat and whose lyrics go like this:

"Every single cell of my body is happy. Every single cell of my body is well. I thank you, Lord. I feel so good. Every single cell of my body is well."

Biology-sharp nerds would readily agree with me in this digression... Over their lifetimes, cells are assaulted by a host of biological insults and injuries. The cells go through such ordeals as infection, trauma, extremes of temperature, exposure to toxins in the environment, and damage from metabolic processes-- this last item is often self-inflicted and includes a merry motley medley of smoking a deck a day of Philip Morris menthols, drinking currant-flavored vodka or suds, overindulgence in red meat or the choicest fat-marbled cuts of poultry and such carcass.

When the damage gets to a certain point, cells self-destruct. T…

KASI NANLABAN

Viagra au naturel

IT LOOKED eerie—a blaze of fireflies pulsing like stars in the nippy air, throbbing with mating passions. That show of lights somehow eased the shadows of a Holy Thursday night on a dry river bed a few kilometers trudge up Mount Makiling.

It’s likely that no river has lain in sleep for months on that moss-grown, boulder-strewn bed—except my 20-year old kid Kukudyu and I. We were out to spend the night, do on-site learning sessions by the next day. Usual father-and-son bonding. As the late Benjamin Franklin once begged: "Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn."

Past noon from the foot of the mountain’s northern section, it took us four hours ploughing non-stop through prickly bushes and forest undergrowth to get to that site. We got there in one bruised piece. By then, dusk was falling; the sylvan air hummed with a trill of crickets, cicadas, critters nameless in choral orison. That incessant “sh-r-r-e-eemmm---“ layered with “k-kr-r-eeengg--” …