Unlucky on rainy days no more
By Roxanne Angelika S Dela Cruz | Field and Emergency Communications Specialist
ZAMBOANGA DEL NORTE — Children in a far-flung village usually walk to school or ride a motorcycle. To get to their school or the town center, residents must cross a riverbank. On normal days, the water level is not high. But when there’s heavy rainfall, just like nowadays, the road becomes impassable and dangerous to students crossing to the other side.
“If it continuously rains, the water rises, making the river impossible to cross,” Tata, a 51-year-old farmer and a father of two, shares. “We cannot cross it, especially the students. They’d end up missing their classes.”
Being absent from their class means missing lessons. The children will end up with failing grades. “If they miss class because they cannot cross the river, they are marked absent,” Tata says. “They miss quizzes and receive failing marks, and it worries me.”
Tata adds, “It’s also another problem for us if it rains in the afternoon just before the students go home. They will get soaked in rainwater or wait for hours in the covered court until the rain passes and the water subsides.” The situation would oftentimes cause children and adult to catch colds and fever.
The family’s income is affected, too. Tata, for instance, needs to deliver his harvest to the town with his motorcycle but he cannot do so during a heavy downpour and it gets flooded. “Instead of four trips a week, we can only deliver twice,” he shares.
With funding from Japan’s Hokushow Corporation Inc., and the joint efforts of World Vision and the local government of Siayan, a box culvert was built to help solve the village’s problems on crossing the river on unfavorable weathers.
“The box culvert really did make a great difference for our community, especially for the children,” says Tata. “Their grades and learnings have really improved, and they get to go home even when there’s a downpour. They don’t get a flu often too even if it’s raining.”
“There’s a positive change in our income as well. I get to do my deliveries on time now,” he adds. “Our community is truly grateful to World Vision, and everyone involved in making this possible. Our long-time problem has been resolved.”