A Mother's Story
In the summer of 2004, Evelyn del Gado gave birth to her youngest child. Named Kathrea Arriane, she was diagnosed with meningitis. Evelyn's world tore apart when she realized she would not be able to see her daughter grow up the way she wanted to be.
Four days after she was born, they could not stop Arriane from crying. Already without sufficient budget, she and her husband Zandrex, 45, were forced to travel for four hours over sea to reach the nearest medical facility, Quezon Memorial Hospital. Once hospitalized, doctors put her in a drug-induced coma and treated her with different medications to keep her body functioning. "Walang tigil ang iyak ko noon, nananalangin na sana ay gumising na ang anak ko, sabi ng duktor, kung hindi pa siya gumising ng ika-pitong araw ay huwag na kaming umasa na mabubuhay pa siya [She couldn't stop trying. I was praying hard for her to wake up, because the doctor said that if she didn't wake up after 7 days, she won't be able to survive]", she related while crying.
Luckily, Arriane was able to wake up. "Kahit kakatapos ko pa lang manganak noon ay pinilit ko na mag-alaga sa kanya at yung asawa ko naman ay humingi ng tulong sa ibat-ibang ahensiya, pati sa aming kamag-anak para sa pang-gastos sa hospital [Even if I'd just given birth, I forced myself to make the effort to take care of my daughter, while my husband approached different agencies and our relatives to ask for financial aid]", Evelyn added.
Today, Arriane is 8 years old and is a constant source of inspiration for them. "Kahit hindi man siya makapagsalita, makabangon sa kama at maraming gastos para sa maintenance na mga gamot ay hindi ako magsasawang alagaan siya hanggat kaya ng katawan ko [Even if she couldnt speak and rise from the bed herself, and even with the many expenses weve accumulated for maintenance medication, I will never get tired of taking care of her]", she firmly said.
Evelyn's sacrifice to keep her family together was her impetus to give back to the community for the assistance she received. She volunteered to be part in the completion of cross drain in Poblacion, Patnanungan, Quezon.
This was identified by the community residents as the project that will address their most pressing needs. "Kahit mahirap po na mag-alaga sa aking anak at maging volunteer ay bale wala po ito para sa aking kapwa ka-barangay [Even if its difficult to take care of my child and volunteer at the same time, its worth it since I will be able to help the people in my community]", Evelyn stated.
The project was implemented under the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) through the Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services Makamasang Tugon (Kalahi-CIDSS MT).
Kalahi-CIDSS MT is an implementation modality of Kalahi-CIDSS processes. It is a performance-based incentive grant that supports local government units (LGUs) for improved governance.
In the said Municipality, the program has completed two spillways in Barangays Kilogan and Norte, a health station in Barangay Amaga, and a cross drain in Poblacion. The said community projects are worth P4.3M, the sum of which was augmented by the local counterpart contributions From the LGUs and the communities.
Being a Project Implementation Team (PIT) head, Evelyn had to monitor the progress of the project implementation. She walked two hours almost daily to go to the project area. "Dati, hirap na hirap kami pumunta sa area dahil maputik at madulas. Iyong tulay din na dinadaanan ay binabaha at nakakatakot baka mahulog kami sa ilog [In the past, it was hard for me to get to the area because the path was muddy and slippery. The bridge itself gets flooded. Its scary crossing it sometimes, because its possible for you to fall in the river", she recalled.
The construction of the cross drain does not only serve as a flood control system, it also improved the roadways. It effectively made access to medical services easier, especially for emergency cases such as pregnant women about to give birth, as well as those afflicted by different kinds of sickness like flu, diarrhea, asthma, and fever. "Maiiwasan na rin po ang pagkamatay nila sa daan, hindi na kailangan pang usungin yung may sakit [They would not have to carry the sick through the bayanihan method and using a cloth and two bamboos on the other side]", she said.
It also decreased the fare of P200 from Sitio Guinaygayan which is eight kilometers far from Poblacion. "Mas mapapadali na rin po ang paglabas at pagpasok ng mga produkto namin gaya ng saging, gulay, palay, mga isda at dried fish [It would be easier for us to bring products such as bananas, vegetables, grains, fish, and dried fish to and from the barangay], said Barangay Kagawad Maryvi Crisostomo.
According to Evelyn, the project has increased the number of residents having motorcycles. "Dahil maganda na po yung dinadaanan namin ay marami na ang mga residente na ginagawang hanap buhay ang pagmomotor papuntang mga Sitio at Bayan [Because the road is good, a lot of the residents here are now able to earn money by ferrying people to and from the sitios and the town on their motorcycles]", she added.
It was not easy for Evelyn to manage her time for her child, her family, and to the project. "Mas marami ng oras ang ginugol ko sa proyekto kesa sa anak ko [Recently, Ive spent more time on the project than for my child]", she shared. "Sinasabi nga sa akin ng aking Nanay na mas pumayat daw si Arriane ngayon dahil napapabayaan ko siya [My mother even told me that Arriane has become thinner because Ive neglected her]", she related.
Evelyn managed to explain to her mother and to her husband that what she was doing is for her community as well as for her family. "Doon nila naintindihan, kaya iyong Nanay ko na ang tumutulong sa pag-aalaga sa anak ko at iyong asawa ko ay sinusuportahan na ako [That's when they were able to understand what I was doing. My mother's now the one whos helping take care of my daughter, while my husband completely supports my serving as a volunteer], she added.
Although it was hard for her to think about the condition of her daughter and the status of the project, she is grateful to have her family's, co-volunteer's, and co-community folks' support. "Hinding hindi ko makakalimutan ang magandang naidulot sa akin ng proyekto dahil dito ko naramdaman ang lubos na kasiyahan na makatulong sa aming barangay. Nagkaroon kami ng bonding sa isa't-isa, naramdaman ko ang suporta ng aking pamilya at marami akong natutunan sa pagdodokumento at pagpatayo ng proyekto [I will never forget the good things brought about by the Project. It was here that I felt great joy from helping other people in the barangay. We bonded with each other, and I really felt the support from my family. I also learned a lot of things in documenting and implementing projects]", she shared.
Through the community projects, the people are empowered, brought development in order to improve their living condition. "Lubos po ang aming pasasalamat sa proyekto dahil sa 35 years ko pong namalagi sa aming barangay ay ngayon lang kami nakatikim ng ganitong kaginhawahan [We are very thankful to the Project. In my 35 years in this barangay, this is the only time I have ever felt this well]", Maryvi stated.
Also, Evelyn's experience in her family and to the program proved her noble works to help her community. "Na-realize ko na sa ating buhay ang lahat ng pagsubok ay malalagpasan, kailangan lang nating maging matatag at maging determinado sa ating ginagawa basta alam nating tama at walang taong ma-aagrabyado [I realized that we can overcome all the trials in our lives. All we need to do is to be strong and determined, and that we take care to do what is right and not to step on anyone's toes]", Evelyn said.
Kalahi-CIDSS is a government program which aims to reduce poverty, improve local governance, and empower people through the implementation of infrastructures and facilities in poor communities such as farm-to-market roads, health and day care centers, elementary and high school buildings, seawalls, cable bridges and electrification.