January 21 - February 9, 2012
We returned to Barangay Saoquigue in Davao Oriental.
While we were distributing food items and hygiene materials last December, we could hear some people speaking among themselves, saying they would gladly forego food in exchange for some roofing materials.
Understandably so, for they were very much exposed to rain and sunshine 24 hours everyday. There was hardly any shade in the place, because their roofs had been blown away and the natural canopies provided by the coconut trees were mostly gone.
They had resorted to assembling scraps of junks above their heads but they were still exposed to danger.
We did not have much money to begin with but we had muscles.
So, Father Timothy Pfeiffer had this great idea: to send volunteers to help the poor families to fix their homes. With the wide scale damage to homes and buildings, the place had an extreme shortage of carpenters and with the sudden high demand for their services, the carpenters had begun charging exorbitant fees that only the rich could afford. So, obviously, a team of carpenters that would fix houses for free would be a real blessing to the poor families! With some effort, Father Tim managed to collect some donations for roofing materials too. He prepared a list of the most impoverished families that had the most need for assistance. The families with the highest number of children were high on the list. That's easy to analyze - we'd be helping more persons with our limited budget that way.
There were great rewards for us there: people smiling to us through the raindrops, offering us their friendship and gratitude, joining us in our daily Rosary, parents braving the sun to listen to our catechism lessons, children eagerly coming to us to learn prayers...
But there is one experience that we will always cherish. One day, while we were immersed in our carpentry mission, we noticed a man who, from a distance, appeared to be fond of caressing the wood that he was working on. He would regularly slide his fingers on the boards before hammering. And he would bring his hammer down but would stop short of burying the nails to the wood. Patrick could not contain himself. He went closer and told the man that he was not hammering efficiently.
It was then that he noticed that the man worked with his eyelids closed.
He was blind!
He could not see his work. But to protect himself and his daughter from the elements, he decided to be a carpenter too. Needless to say, Patrick instantly offered his services to this man. The foreman called all of us to reinforce Patrick. And the next thing the blind man knew, he had a new house! Well, at least, a roof and the beginning of a new house! You can just imagine the joy of the blind man. Come sunshine or rain, they will be under the shadow of the new roof! O, blessed be the merciful God!
He happily told us that his daughter will be a policewoman one day. She will be a great defender and protector of the poor. Yes, she will be a very good daughter and will let him see wonderful things through her success and she will give him pride in his old age.
|May God bless their aspirations and grant them the grace to know the joy He has prepared for all His faithful children.|
|["planting rice" contest... rather, planting straws on bottles... ]|
THANK YOU FOR THE ROOF!
|Thank you for the beautiful shade!|
|Yes, thank you very much|
|for the new roof!|
SHALL WE RETURN TO SAOQUIGUE?
I guess so.... if God permits...
if we can gather again some materials for roofing
because there are still brothers and sisters there praying for relief.
|This is our little shrine in Nasa Village dedicated to Our Lady|
For the love of God, how can we not return ?