For Baby Asrena
by Joy Maluyo, Emergency Communications Specialist
When the fighting ensued in Marawi City, Mahida only had one thing in mind.
“I had to survive for my baby,” she shares. She was just a year into her married life and just a month away from welcoming their first baby. She was anxious and terrified and weak from the sound of the gun shots and the chaos around her but she was at the same time unbent and determined to escape for her baby’s sake.
“I didn’t know I was capable of having that courage. From one alley to another, I took cover, ran a little, walked faster than an 8-month pregnant woman should and told myself that my baby will live. Maybe that’s how far a mother’s love can go,” recalls Mahida. She and her husband had to walk several kilometers to get to safety.
In the months that followed, the family was without source of income. They had to rely on relief goods from the government, aid organizations and help from their relatives to get by. The battle that they thought would only last for days dragged on for four months, forcing them to live from one relative to another. It was tough according to Mahida but giving birth to her now 9-month old baby girl, Asrena gives her the reason to start anew.
“I still can’t believe we made it out alive and that despite the lack of food, sleep and with all the worries I had, I gave birth to a healthy baby. Maybe she knew how we fought for her during the war and that helped nurture her while she was in my womb,” Mahida smiles.
The family went back to Marawi in November 2017 after the government declared the liberation of the city from the armed group. Her husband who used to be a construction worker is currently without job so they still have to rely on aid. While she is happy to be back home, her family and thousands more still need help.
A recent study shows that as of January 2018, the gap in meeting the food needs of the Marawi crisis-affected families is at 77%. With loss of livelihood and poor living conditions, the situation could possibly increase the already high prevalence of malnutrition in Lanao del Sur where 5 out 10 children are declared malnourished.
“I know it’s going to be tough in the next days and months but like how we managed to survive the fighting in May, my husband and I will make sure that we will get through this. I see that ray of hope every time I see Asrena smiles,” says Mahida who now breastfeeds her baby.
World Vision recently implemented cash-for-work program in the city, providing at least 1,000 families, including Mahida’s temporary source of income.World Vision/March 12, 2018
World Vision is a global Christian relief, development and advocacy organisation dedicated to working with children, families and communities to overcome poverty and injustice. World Vision serves all people, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, or gender.