PRIVILEGES AND BENEFITS SHATTERED
Privileges and benefits shattered? We can face these if we have the right values and concern for each other. “Evil is powerless if the good is unafraid.” (Pres. Ronald Reagan)
Be of the higher or lower bracket of society, many of us have experienced living comfortably in our means without depending or relying on charity. The poor are the most vulnerable level of society and as we know, financial struggle is at the core. In most times, it is because people’s benefits and privileges are shattered.
In this time of pandemic we globally face today, families are struggling to cope with their basic daily needs. As for the well of, they resolve to selling their car, appliances, furniture so to pay their bills, mortgages, insurances payments, taxes, for health needs and medications. In contrast, the less fortunate tries to strive to earn food and their needs on their own, practically with bare hands and unsure earning, uncertain part time jobs. Losing one possibility of earning money daily bring them an agonizing experience meeting their basic daily needs, especially food.
The pandemic has brought five million Filipinos hungry and ten million lost their jobs and their livelihood destroyed. The poor bears the unequal distribution and inadequate help especially to the millions who reside in slam areas, the hottest area for the virus.
A sixteen-year girl narrated her experience; “Sometimes, I’d wake up and there’d be nothing to eat. If you haven’t eaten anything you won’t feel like moving. It’s like you are wasted. You are trembling from hunger and cannot think well nor to speak. When I am hungry, no one can give me food because we have no money”. Another mother of a family said, “the urban poor do not enjoy most of the benefits, we may not be afraid to die of Covid, but we are afraid to die of hunger.” Others, they go to big public markets to scavenge for vegetables for food. Everything fell apart due to Covid and force to consume all they have on hand.
Despite these, many people remain positive, meaning optimistic, that they must strive to go on. For instance, our workers at the Ramon Zubieta farm, they are all very simple, yet they do not want to give up their work. They sacrifice leaving their families behind for they rather choose to stay-in, following government protocol so as not to spread the virus more and to help others protect themselves, too. Loneliness prevails among them for they must stay far from their loved ones and to cope with some adjustments. In place, the Sisters give them spiritual and moral counselling to uplift them and extends minimal help like; rice, fish, fruits and vegetables. At times, a minimal assistance for simple medication and the use of herbal medicines. It is our joy when we also share guides or process of learning to those who seek it online or other forms of communication.
All these experiences of isolation, quarantine and extended MECQ (Moderately Enhanced Community Quarantine) has deprived us to be in constant communication to our workers and people in the vicinity. Yet, we all wish for an end to these deprivations because of the Covid-19 virus in each of our “little worlds”. We put our confidence and trust in the Lord, that, amid this distancing in our ministries, want to rise higher in our hope, accomplish dreams, overcome obstacles. Always bear in mind that if we are only focused on ourselves, we will get stuck. It is good to remember that God brings people and opportunities across our path, so we can be challenged and thereby, be channels of and are to others, a blessing.
Ramon Zubieta Community
Culianan, Zamboanga City, Philippines