Written By Cyril Cabral, Volunteer Writer, Operation Blessing Philippines

GUIUAN, EASTERN SAMAR – A fisherman most of his life, Nicomedes Abrajano, 49, considered the sea his friend. Little did he know that the same sea would take what was most precious to him.

Nicomedes knew typhoon Yolanda would strike, but since their place is the usual path of typhoons, he made only the usual preparations to secure their belongings and their boat, thinking it was just an ordinary typhoon. Then it started tearing apart homes, uprooting trees and destroying infrastructure.

Nicomedes then tried several times to persuade his wife Erlinda, who was at the local church praying with other devotees, to come home — but she insisted on staying. Unable to take her with him, Nicomedes and two of his sons took shelter with some neighbors at a concrete house where they stayed until the storm was over.

By morning, they heard that the church building had collapsed. Several people died — his wife included. “My son told me, ‘Pa, Mama’s gone.’ In an instant, I was paralyzed and I cannot move. I asked God why this happened to us. I was just lost. If I had just convinced her to go with us maybe she would still be alive.”

Nicomedes’ house and source of income were gone too. His boat was washed out by the storm. For the next few days, they relied on coconuts to sustain them until help from various NGOs arrived.

When Operation Blessing in partnership with Pinoy Relief and Barangay Pagnamitan officials learned about Nicomedes’s situation, they included him among the 20 groups of beneficiaries of new fishing boats that they are going to repay within a span of time to help other typhoon survivors. They also received fishnets, epoxy and paint to be used in improving their boats.

Nicomedes is now recovering with his family from the tragedy. “Now that we have a new boat, we have a better chance of recovering from what my family experienced. This would not replace my wife’s life, but still I thank Operation Blessing and God because I know He still has a purpose for us.” Nicomedes concluded.

Nine months after the super typhoon hit the Visayas, Operation Blessing Philippines, in partnership with Pinoy Relief, turned-over 78 boats, to provide recipient families in Samar and Leyte with a source of livelihood by means of fishing. 222 fishermen have benefitted in this project.

Thank you for enabling Yolanda survivors to start anew through your generous and sacrificial giving.