Children remain cheerful despite dismal situation

Cousins Jobel, 8, and Nikki, 9, excitedly open the food pack that their mothers received during World Vision’s recent distribution in the province of Bohol.

The girls seem to enjoy checking what’s inside the food pack. World Vision provided affected sponsored families in Pilar, Bohol with food pack containing 10kg of rice, 9 canned goods, 1kg brown sugar, 10 packs instant noodles, and 10 liters distilled water.

“We really need food nowadays because we are thinking a lot of things like where to get money to repair our house and for our daily food needs,” says Merylona, 48, Nikki’s mother.

Jobel’s father, Jobe, 39, is a construction worker earning Php500 ($10) a day per project, while Nikki’s father, Nicanor, 53, is a farmer earning between Php250 ($5) – Php500 ($10) a day during harvest and planting seasons.

On days when both husbands have no work, Marissa and Merylona would stretch their savings to several days until their husbands find work again.

“Do you two quarrel?” a World Vision staff ask to Nikki and Jobel.

Both girls smile again. Jobel, who is the youngest of 9 siblings, nodded shyly.

“We had disagreements sometimes,” says Nikki, the more talkative of the two.

Both Jobel and Nikki’s houses got damaged during Typhoon Odette (international name Rai) onslaught mid-December 2021.

Both girls missed their former houses where they could sleep safely. Their families are currently using part of their house that still has roof. For Jobel’s family, it’s their kitchen, while for Nikk’s family, it’s their bedroom.

Like Jobel and Nikki, Kenneth, 9, a World Vision sponsored child, is living in temporary home, that of his grandmother’s. “Our house turned upside down,” Kenneth says pointing to his house. The family has few items saved.

Despite what happened to his house, Kenneth remains cheerful, playing usually with his cousins and siblings. “We love running around.

Kenneth’s family also received food packs from World Vision. “These food items would help our family survive for days, especially since I have five kids and my husband has no regular work,” Malyn, 31, Kenneth’s mother, says.

Running to its third week since Typhoon Odette made landfall in the province of Bohol, known to tourists for its Chocolate Hills and smallest primate, the tarsier, many of the towns are still without electricity, making families and children live in darkness and cold as most houses are damaged. The Philippine News Agency, the government’s media arm, reported that of the three transmission lines, only one line was restored.

“When you don’t have power, you also don’t have water. Because the water refilling stations are not working […] You also need power to help the telcos. They need that power to bring back the connectivity,” Bohol Governor Arthur Yap in his interview with CNN Philippines.

World Vision has reached a total of 6,661 families for its World Vision’s emergency response wherein the organization also provided 1,690 emergency shelter kits, 1,612 hygiene kits, 1,378 kitchen kits, 2,009 non-food items including mosquito nets and blankets, and 906 water purification packets in Bohol, Cebu and Surigao del Norte provinces.

Our assistance to Typhoon Odette affected families will continue in the next two months. The organization plans to reach 10,000 families or 45,000 individuals by the end of February. It targets to cover child protection and cash programming sectors aside from the existing WASH, shelter, and non-food items interventions.