“Ang hirap kapag wala kang pera. Pati mga kapitbahay na katabi lang parang ang layo pa rin sayo,” Jennifer Dimayuga thought to herself.
She almost teared up at the thought of how their life was before they became a Pantawid Pamilya beneficiary. Her husband, Thomas, worked as a charcoal maker while Jennifer planted and harvested some vegetables to earn extra income. Their house was not in a good condition that part of it was just tent that leaked when it rained. Now, after years of being a laborer, Thomas became a carpenter and has a contract in Cagayan De Oro since last year.
“Sakripisyo po talaga. Kahit nung pasko at New Year hindi po namin siya kasama. Kasi sabi po niya, sama-sama nga tayo wala naman tayong pera,” Jennifer related.
As the provider of the family, Thomas would only want to earn much more for his family, not being able to come home in exchange of all the income or bonuses he can get while he is away. Jennifer made sure that every cent that came from his husband will be used for their children’s education and health. She continued planting and harvesting vegetables, selling them every now and then; their Brgy. Captain endorsed her to work as a Barangay Nutritionist Scholar (BNS) where she gets Php 1,000.00 a month. All these, added to the cash grant being provided by Pantawid, made their life easier than it was before.
“Dati po kapag nagkakasakit, sobrang hirap manghiram ng pera. Walang mahiraman kasi parang kapag alam na wala ka namang ibabayad, lalong walang magpapahiram sayo. Ngayon meron na ring lumalapit sa amin, kasi dati kami lagi yung humihingi ng tulong.”
Reminiscing all their hardships, Jennifer and Thomas are also proud parents as they see how their kids strive to study hard, even withstanding the long walk through muddy pathway just so they could get to school every day. The kids never demanded for big things, but are contented with what they have.
“Sabi ko nga sa mga anak ko, bawat sentimong matanganan niyo pahalagahan niyo kasi yan ay bihirang dumating na oppoprtunity. Katulad ngayon, meron na kaming napagkukunan ng pangbili ng gamit sa eskwela, pangbiling bigas.”
The change was not eminent, but is constant. Dimayuga family can’t be thankful enough that they can now afford things they cannot before. Besides the vegetables they have on the backyard, Jennifer can now cook a proper meal for the family.
“Ramdam po talaga ang pagbabago, lalo na po sa pagkain. Kung dati po nagtitiis kami sa nilagang okra, ngayon nakakatikim na ng fried chicken yung mga anak ko. Weekly, makakakain ka lang ng karne pag may mapupuntahan kang birthday. Dati kapag Noche Buena at may kalahating kilo ng pansit okay na, pero ngayon kita mo sa table namin, puno yung table namin. May goldilocks na kami, dati tasty lang yung pinaka-special.”
Bearing witness to the change that this family has gone through are the members of the community. They even endorsed Dimayuga Family for the Huwarang Pantawid Pamilya 2018.
“Kapag may dumating na opportunity sa inyo, pahalagahan kasi ito ang nagiging daan para talagang magbago yung buhay mo. Huwag mong palalagpasin, huwag mong sasayangin dahil minsan lang ito dumating.”