Stories of Hope: Divine Mercy Village (Part 2)

" Like a fertile ground on which plants can grow and bear fruit, it is our fervent hope that these stories will encourage communities, especially the youth to share in this vision by working together and making the world a better place to live in, now and into the future."

STORIES   OF   HOPE  (Part 2)

Divine Mercy Village, Barangay Patag, Municipality of Opol, Misamis Oriental

by Rochelle Mordeno

Rochelle Mordeno

Justice, Peace & Integrity of Creation (JPIC) Animator of the Columban Missionaries in Mindanao

 

Overcoming the Past and Moving On

48-year-old Juliet is a survivor of domestic violence. Family members spoke of her bouts of depression and melancholy due to what they perceived were the effects of mistreatment and suffering she experienced from an abusive partner.

Under the pandemic, Juliet’s disposition has worsened due to stress and the constant worrying over where to find food for her children and how to cope in case they ever get sick.

‘Were it not for my children, I would have committed suicide a long time ago.  What wakes me up every morning is the realization that I am a mother with children to feed’.

The support system set up by the village with the help of kindhearted groups was truly a blessing that transformed Juliet from being passive to becoming productive. Today, sharing the meals consisting of vegetables plucked from their home garden is much anticipated. As some would say, ‘food tastes better when cooked with love’. In Juliet’s life, it is not just the meal but the sight of her children savoring the food that gladdens her heart.

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Slowly but surely, Juliet has recovered and now manages a small variety store (locally known as ‘sari-sari’ store, meaning selling assorted goods). In addition, she also earns from sewing pillowcases and curtains after a benefactor-friend gave her a machine. She also went into making rattan bags and basket-weaving.  The prices of her goods vary depending on the size and the item for sale, ranging from Php150 to Php500. Clearly, Juliet has remarkably put her entrepreneurial skills into good use.

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Juliet’s story depicts a woman who discovered her strength and her abilities amidst life’s challenges. Believing that God is on her side has enabled her to be brave and to move forward from the past. She hopes that one day, her children will become entrepreneurs themselves. Until then, she continues to pray her children will grow in their faith and become closer to God, the source of all the good in the world.

Nurturing the Youth – our Hope for the future

The village’s youth initiated a plan to put up communal gardens.  In the process, their parents were invited to help in building compost pits. These soil-enhancing beds will fertilize the soil on which the vegetables would be grown. 

The youth were also actively involved in mobilizing the needed technical support for the village. They extended moral and spiritual guidance to families and those in need of help.

The youth have organized the third of a series of learning sessions as well of families engaged in communal gardens supported by partners: the Agro-Eco Philippines represented by Greg Tacbas, Region 10 Coordinator, Agricultural Training Institute (ATI)-Region 10 led by Ms Anita Molijon, and Sarah Abella and Mailyn Quiblat , Municipal Agricultural Officers ( MAO) of Opol, Misamis Oriental. Inputs on the preparation of organic concoctions such as fermented fruit juice (FFJ), fermented plant juice (FPJ) and indigenous microorganisms (IMO) were shared. Learner-participants also received samples of each concoction. 

 

Mr. Tacbas talked about the different varieties of certified organic corn, string beans, and okra seeds. He gave technical advice to every issue raised during the monitoring session.

The Agro-Eco Philippines continues its call to respect the right to food, food sovereignty and agro-biological diversity which are all under threat due to seed patenting and other protection laws.

Pope Francis reminds us in his encyclical, Laudato Si’, Care for our Common Home that we have to participate in efforts to resolve the world’s ecological crisis. Like a fertile ground on which plants can grow and bear fruit, it is our fervent hope that these stories will encourage communities, especially the youth to share in this vision by working together and making the world a better place to live in, now and into the future.

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Please check this ASIN song (https://youtu.be/CH0i1QTiNHQ) that best describes their shared beliefs, hopes and aspirations at this age of the pandemic.