Written By Meljessa Balino, Volunteer Writer, Operation Blessing Philippines

She had been looking at us from a distance for quite a while, holding her three empty plastic bottles of soft drinks. We approached her and asked, “Are you going to fetch some water, Nanay?” She nodded and smiled shyly.

It has been almost two weeks now since Operation Blessing Philippines set up the mobile water station at Baligang Elementary School for the evacuees of Barangay Salugan. Evacuees were able to get clean and potable water, distributed at a scheduled time. To date, the said water station has been able to serve 160 families, and one of the beneficiaries was Timothea Nacor, 76 years old.

Nanay Thea patiently fell in line, beaming at us as she waited. Out of curiosity, I stood beside her, and we had a little chat.
“Nanay, how old are you?” I asked. Her smile broadened, “76 years old, so old, huh?” she answered. I smiled at her, “No, Nanay that’s still young. Look, you can still fetch water and do chores.”

It wasn’t long till we were laughing and sharing stories. As she waited for her turn to fill her bottles, I asked her, “Nay, why do you only have three bottles for your family? Will that be enough for the four of you?” She looked at me and answered, “Actually, we still have two bottles full of water in our room, so it will be enough for us until the next schedule this afternoon.”

With Water BottleNanay Timothea Nacor is currently staying at a temporary shelter in Baligang Elementary School with her son Jomel Nacor, 40 and his wife Lilibeth Nacor, 30. They’ve been in the shelter for three weeks now, but Jomel and Lilibeth still keep going back to their house in Salugan to check on their vegetable plants and livestock, and Nanay Thea is usually left to watch over her 7-year-old grandson, Nilo, while the couple is not at the shelter.

After filling up her bottles, Nanay Thea looked for Nilo to help her carry them, but she couldn’t find him, so we offered to help carry them for her. The room her family was assigned to was almost a yard away from the water station, and while walking she said, “Thank you.” I smiled at her and replied, “Nanay, you’re welcome. Your room is just a few steps away and these bottles are lighter than others.”

“No, thank you for that water station. When you set it up, I was so happy because I would no longer have to buy water from the refilling station. It is a big help for us, and it has also eased our concern about the safety of our drinking water while we’re here at the evacuation center,” she said.

As I looked at her, her smile grew wider, full of sincerity as she held my hand. I smiled and replied, “Because we care.”

Operation Blessing Philippines is adopting an evacuation site in Camalig to provide the people’s basic necessities. Meanwhile, the organization’s medical mission and trauma counseling teams are visiting other areas to give primary healthcare, conduct Superbook screenings, feedings, and provide psychosocial support.

To date, Operation Blessing Philippines has served a total of 266 families (2,154 individuals) in the municipalities of Camalig, Guinobatan, and Ligao in Albay, Bicol Region.

Let’s help comfort the Bicolanos! Call us at these numbers: 477-7802 to 04/ 0920-4975558/ 0922-8036922/ 0917-5812603 to find out more ways you can help.