Rural folks repay kindness by helping neighbors affected by lockdown  

After World Vision assisted them with their water problem four years ago, a 58-year-old mother and her friends showed their gratitude to the organization by doing a pay-it-forward deed to their neighbors.

Josefina Balbaira, an officer of a village water system group, formed after World Vision’s water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) Project implementation in Batangas, had rallied other cooperative members into helping her give away kilos of rice to their neighbors greatly affected by the quarantine period which started mid-March.

Many of the families in Josefina’s town are farmers and daily wage earners with limited budget to spend for their family’s basic needs. Even Josefina merely gets an honorarium of Php1,000 ($20) for managing their community’s water system that provides accessible water to over a hundred families in the quaint village.

“Nabigla po ang mga tao sa biglaang lockdown. Kaya yun pong vulnerable families namin ay nangailangan (People were caught unprepared with the lockdown that vulnerable families seek assistance),” Josefina said.

The team spent Php18,700 ($374) for 9 sacks of rice from the WASH Project’s fund. A total of 160 families received the rice assistance.

“Kaya marami nga po ang natuwa (Many were happy),” she added.

Josefina said that they’ve never done relief assistance in the past, only recently. Their first was during Taal Volcano eruption when affected families evacuated to their town.

Taal volcano erupted last January 12 affecting more than 190,000  families in three Luzon regions.

“Masaya po sa pakiramdam na nakakatulong kami ng kapwa. Nakakawala ng pagod. Kasi nakikita din po namin sa mga tao na masaya sila. (We are happy to help other people. Seeing people happy dissipates our weariness).”

She said they learned the essence of helping from World Vision that assisted them at the time they were in dire need of a water system.

World Vision started its WASH Project at Josefina’s village in 2015. She was a community volunteer then. Prior to the project, the people would carry pails to fetch water from afar or a nearby river. Nowadays, people have water pipes that makes access to water easier.

“Nagpapasalamat nga po  kami sa World Vision. Ginagawa lang po namin ang natutunan namin sa World Vision dahil ito rin pong patubig ay tulong mula sa World Vision (We are thankful to World Vision. We are doing this because we learned it from World Vision who also helped us with our water problem).”

Photo by Josefina Bico /LRC