Seemingly hopeless story inspires movements of hope

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2 maitum

Busy streets, people buzzing about, and an overflowing supply of vegetables and rice delicacies. These were the images that described normal Thursdays in the markets of Maitum, the farthest municipality in the province of Sarangani.

But everything changed when COVID-19 came into the picture.

Just weeks before the Enhanced Community Quarantine, I went out to buy suman. To my surprise, there were few people in the Mini Forest even when it was a Thursday. The stillness and the calmness of the place would tell someone that something was wrong that it scared people to go out. 

The current market situation at the Mini Forest in Maitum

While walking around, a church mate of mine approached me with a big smile on her face. With so much excitement, I came to her with an even bigger smile on my face. We talked about the church, school, and the suman I just bought. It was a pleasant conversation until the COVID-19 Crisis came into the topic. 

“Mingaw” was the term she used to describe how the Mini Forest was affected by the implementation of the lockdown. For someone like her who was a part-time vendor, it scared her because it would surely affect their source of income. 

She and her husband had been working at the same time to provide for the needs of the family, my friend as a market vendor and her husband as a utility man in a vulcanizing shop. Their two children relied on them, and one will be off for college next school year. I patiently listened as I noticed that she was holding back her tears while sharing her story with me. 

“Kakaunti na lang bumibili ngayon kasi takot na lahat lumabas dahil sa COVID. ‘Di na makapasok dito sa atin ang mga suki ko na taga-Kiamba kaya ‘di na lang muna ako naghanda nung gulay na palagi nilang binibili. ‘Yung asawa ko, sigurado hihina ‘yung bulkitan namin kasi kakaunti na lang din bumabyahe na tricycle. Mga flat na gulong ang pinagkakakitaan nun eh [There are few customers now because of the fear of going out due to COVID. My parishioners from Kiamba could not go here that’s why I did not prepare their usual orders. On the other hand, my husband would earn little because of the fewer tricycles operating for the meantime. He earns from flat tires.],” she shared with teary eyes. 

“Ang hirap pala ng ganito, Ding. Dahan-dahan mo nang nakakalimutan ang mukha ng piso [Situations like these are very hard, Ding. You slowly forget how a peso looks like],” she added. 

Seen in the photo are some of the beneficiaries of CharitAble Maitum’s COVID-19 Response Initiative

We were quiet for a while. I was speechless while my heart was breaking because of her story that truly proves the saying “Mahirap Maging Mahirap.” 

She broke the silence by telling me that I should be better in school if we will be allowed to go back to school. She told me to go home because my family might be waiting for me. I smiled at her, and waved goodbye as I held back my tears because I realized that it was actually I who was holding back my tears. 

Filipinos are known to be resilient. In troubled times, we chose to smile and rise up with an even radiant beam of hope. Truly, the story of my church mate represents the untold stories of the Filipinos who remain strong despite the trials. 

In fact, the story above is one of those untold stories that inspired seven Maitumian Youth to start CharitAble Maitum, a youth-led charity organization which aims to help those who are truly in need amid the crisis brought by the pandemic through a donation drive.  (SEE: Discovering a sikad driver’s unexpected weapon against COVID-19)

There were times when we doubted the success of this movement, but what kept us going is our strong belief that Filipinos are naturally helpful to those who are in need despite the struggles they are experiencing. 

With the support of our donors and the prayers we were receiving, we were able to distribute 50 relief packs to two barangays already. No words can describe how fulfilling it was to see genuine smiles on the faces of our beneficiaries who received small gifts from various people who cared for them. 

We were even more grateful because CharitAble Maitume was chosen as one of the beneficiaries of Kapit-Mindanao which means that we now have a bigger chance to help more of our fellow Maitumians who are in need. 

Before I end this story, I would like to believe that Helen Keller was right when he said: “Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.”

Let us all unite to spread love and hope through being CHARITABLE. Together, we are ABLE! (By Trisha Abigaille Bautista Ormita for Kapit-Mindanao)

The #SKLSeries (Share Ko Lang) aims to share stories of hope and inspiration written by the youth beneficiaries of Kapit-Mindanao themselves.

We’re raising P1 million for 20 communications all over Mindanao. Help us reach that goal! To donate, go to bit.ly/KapitDonate now!

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