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TRUE LOVE FROM A DISTANCE

by Anonymous last modified Sep 05, 2019 07:25 AM

Through all the hardships, all they can do is cry, and then continue to thrive on. I admire these women for having courage and resilience, and for being brave enough to take risks. They sacrifice their lives for their family and their children, knowing that when they return home, things will be different. For my part, I can only share my presence, listen to their stories, put myself in their place and empathize with them. At the same time, I am praying for them that God will give them more courage to continue living.

TRUE LOVE FROM A DISTANCE

by Ana Flores

Columban lay missionary from Peru

 

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I first arrived in the Philippines in December 2007 and have been assigned in Mindanao ever since.  I am currently engaged in a resettlement project at the Mother of Divine Mercy Village in the outskirts of Cagayan de Oro, for the victims and survivors of the catastrophic typhoon, Sendong (Tropical Storm Washi) in 2011. There are 540 families living in the village. Residing here for many years has made me recognize that although every family has their own problems and struggles, they can all be rooted from the lack of opportunities for families to earn a decent living.  

My work involves regular house visitations through which I am able to know their life struggles. One of them is the increasing number of children who do not have the opportunity to attend school because of the lack in financial support. In response to this, we have initiated a livelihood program where their mothers, and women in general, are taught to sew clothes. The sewing project helps willing mothers to acquire skills and empowers them to earn a living. But while some women choose to be part of the project, others decide to leave home and try their luck overseas. Most of the women who decide to work abroad feel that they don’t have any choice in the matter because their husbands’ incomes are inadequate to sustain the financial needs of the family.

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Ana with friends at the Mother of Divine Mercy Village

It is difficult to witness these mothers leave home to work abroad, but it especially pains me to see their children being left in the care of their father and other relatives in their absence.  Because some of them don’t have the money to travel to Manila for the processing of their papers, they rely solely on the employment agency and are subsequently indebted to them for a huge amount of money. Most of the time, the money they earn abroad is not even enough to pay the exorbitant fees that these manpower agencies demand.

While these mothers are abroad, the husbands work as either tricycle drivers or construction workers, leaving the children at home often without any adult supervision. This is the sad day-to-day scenario in my ministry. Seeing the children left on their own is disheartening. Most of the time I can only look up to the skies to utter a prayer for them.

Because of the advances in technology, especially through social media, I can catch up with these mothers working abroad and sometimes give an update on their children. Parenting their children from a distance requires responsibility, perseverance and a lot of trust, especially when a family member passes away or multiple problems concerning their children arise. Through all the hardships, all they can do is cry, and then continue to thrive on. I admire these women for having courage and resilience, and for being brave enough to take risks.

They sacrifice their lives for their family and their children, knowing that when they return home, things will be different.

For my part, I can only share my presence, listen to their stories, put myself in their place and empathize with them. At the same time, I am praying for them that God will give them more courage to continue living.  

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Houses at the Mother of Divine Mercy Village

 

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Aerial view of the village

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