Juan Ritual, a 68-year-old spearfisherman, relies on diving with a spear to catch fish and other seafood for a living.
Despite being experienced, he recently had a scary encounter after resurfacing when he vomited blood.
“I was frightened that time,” Juan said. Feeling weak and dizzy in the middle of the sea, he prayed to God for strength and help, and he managed to swim back home to his wife.
It turned out that he had been suffering from a prolonged cough, which made spearfishing particularly dangerous for him.
Since the incident, Carina, Juan’s wife, has not allowed Juan to go fishing.
The couple lives in Dikapanikian, a small village in Dingalan, Aurora, surrounded by mountains and the sea. Carina makes and sells brooms for a living, earning only around ₱600 ($11) in a week.
While Juan sometimes still tries to go fishing to earn extra money, their income is not enough for their basic needs, let alone medical expenses.
Their hopes were enlivened when their pastor announced that Operation Blessing was having a medical mission in their community.
Juan was among the first to consult with the volunteer doctor. He was prescribed vitamins and medicines for his cough, and both him and his wife were also given free medicines to relieve the pain in their knees.
“I am really, really happy. I was telling my wife that if we got money, we wanted to go to the town proper for a check-up. But God answered our prayers, and doctors came to our community instead,” says Juan, smiling.
OB’s team traveled almost an hour, crossing mountains and rivers, to reach their community and serve over a hundred patients like them who had been praying for God’s provision to get the medical care they needed.
HELP more of our kababayans in far-flung areas get access to free healthcare! Donate at www.operationblessing.ph/give. You may also contact 09399215543 or 09189067753 for more information.
DSWD-SB-SP-00017-2023-Nationwide. Valid until March 31, 2024