Livelihood and sustainability is always the biggest challenge, not just with communities in GK, but just about everywhere. For almost five years, Tita Cora Ragas has been working hand-in-hand with GK Del Rosario (Naga City, Camarines Sur), encouraging the ladies to be productive. Some have enrolled in cooking classes (and we have one resident who is now cooking in the kitchen of Mother Seton!), others have enrolled in massage and hilot classes, while a handful of ladies started beading beautiful bracelets.
As is the case for most GK communities, the volunteers on the ground, the care taker teams (which may really just be one or two volunteers that have decided to stick with their communities) that try to think of ways to uplift the lives of the families. The same people who spend much of their time also spend a lot of their own money.
GK Del Rosario is your classic example – made up of 35 families, more than half of the homes built were built on the padugo of local volunteers. Tita Cora remembers how they would set aside Php15 regularly so they could contribute to the materials and development of the homes and the village.
GK Del Rosario has come a long way since 2009. The families that used to live in Triangulo and along the railroad tracks have roofs over their heads and a persistent mother hen that won’t give up. Tita Cora proudly shared that the community has been able to produce an accountant, a civil engineer and an architect (will pray for her as she prepares for the board!).
“I love them. Gusto kong makitang umangat din sila. Pero hindi ibig sabihin na hindi rin ako napapahod”
It was her birthday the day before and she looks younger than her 59 years. Perhaps it’s the community that keeps her young, hopeful and always overflowing with love. The honest sigh and expression of exhaustion though made that love all the more real.
It is incredibly tiring. And yet she is still there.
That is love. That is walang iwanan.
The bracelets are hand made. They currently sell for Php100.00 in Naga City. Our favourite is the Philippine Flag bracelet – which is incredibly difficult to do. :O