A Family of 10

Trip Start Aug 07, 2012
Trip End Feb 07, 2013

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Flag of United States  , Michigan
Monday, November 12, 2012

Hello Everyone,
I want to share with all of you today the story of one family in Cangumbang, the Espelita Family. However, for those of you who have already heard their story from my article distributed at Holy Angels I want to make a correction to their story. The Espelita Family has 8 children, 5 boys and 3 girls, including a brand new baby :) They cannot speak to all of you themselves so I hope through me you can come to know their current situation.

"The Espelita family lives in Cangumbang. Their home is set slightly farther in to the country side than the other community members, on the opposite side of the local river. The family lives in a small traditional Filipino home made of bamboo with a dirt floor. There are technically four rooms in their home, but it is spans an area no larger than 10 ft by 10 ft. They have no electricity or plumbing, or even a makeshift bathroom facility. To access their home from the main village of Cangumbang they must cross the river over a bridge created by laying a long bamboo stick across the river. After crossing the river there is a long winding path through a large field and in to the woods, which leads to their home. The parents work in the fields or do any odd jobs to make a living. They have 8 children, 5 boys and 3 girls. Two of their daughters Rinalyn and Cherry May are sponsored through Volunteer for Visayans (VFV) program. This provides their family with a monthly grocery allotment. Their monthly groceries supplied by the Sponsorship program is larger than usual due to the fact that their daughters cannot attend the two daily feedings at the VFV center, because it is located more than an hour away from their home. The girls, and all the other sponsored children in Cangumbang, miss out on after school tutoring, arts and crafts, swimming lessons, dance lessons, and many other special activities available to the sponsored children due to their remote location.

The Espelita family would not be able to sustain without the help of Volunteer for Visayans. One of the Espelita family's sons is physically handicapped, clearly suffering from cerebral palsy. The first time I met him he lay in a hammock strung across an upper room swinging back and forth with the most joyful grin. He will never receive the medical care, physical therapy, or occupational therapy he deserves because his family can simply not afford it. But I consider him to by lucky in comparison to some, because he has a loving family who will continue to care for him the rest of his life.

When the floods come the only shelter the family has is in a small 4 foot by 4 foot room built on the "second floor" of their home about 3 feet off the ground. They cook all their food over a fire outside so in times of flood they are at risk of literally starving. The mile or two swim most families in Cangumbang face to seek shelter in the nearby school which sits over 10 feet above ground, is at least 4 or 5 miles from the Espelita family home. I doubt any of the children can swim, they have no floatation devices, and the journey becomes near impossible with a child with disabilities or a newborn baby. As I said the highest point in their home is 3 feet above the ground, but when the floods each 5 feet that means they are sitting in 2 feet of water even on the second floor. Their belongings are destroyed if not carried away by the flood and their home is not built to withstand much push or shove from the powerful winds or high quantities of water.

The evacuation center would bring this family safety and protection in times of flood. It would save their children’s lives. If they became stranded across the river during the flood, a life boat could come to their rescue. They would have year round bathroom facilities available to them at the center. The center would give them access to food and the ability to cook when their home became submerged with the flood waters. Their son with disabilities would have better access to medical check-ups, and when their children had minor medical needs VFV would help provide simple fixes. Rinalyn and Cherry May would receive two daily feedings at the center, removing some of the burden from their parents. The girls would also participate in various activities at the center, again giving them things their parents cannot afford to give them."

This family needs this evacuation center to survive the next flood. Please consider contributing to the safety of the Espelita family and many others like them.


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Suzy on

Love :)

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