Written By Cervin P. Bariso, Writer, Operation Blessing Philippines

DCIM100GOPROGOPR5862.Melonie Dichos, 47, lives with her two daughters in a little shanty she built after Typhoon Yolanda’s (international name: Haiyan) devastation. The strongest typhoon was not able to blow off the sorrow that taunts her every day for almost six years now. Melonie rather bravely fights against this deepened misery with humility. She never gave in with its bait because she is a victor of her daily struggle.

Melonie loved her husband genuinely that she married him despite of his lifelong heart disease. Her love for him even made her endure the times when she needed to bathe and change her husband’s diapers because of his illness. Their love bore five children but it did not prolong her husband’s life. He died when Melonie’s eldest child was 21.

After a year, Melonie longed for the love she felt and she had shared unconditionally. She married another man. “Nagmahal po ako ng mali noon. Noong una, akala ko may makakatuwang na ako sa pagpapalaki ko sa aking mga anak (I loved wrongly before. At first, I thought I will have someone [again] to help me in raising my children),” she humbly shared her past.

Noong niyaya ko na siyang magpakasal at ayaw niya, doon ko nalaman na hindi totoo ang pagmamahal niya. Iniwan niya kami at bumalik siya sa totoo niyang pamilya. Pero natutunan kong tanggapin kasi sabi naman ng Panginoon na ang pagmamahal ng tao nawawala, pero ang pagmamahal Niya hindi (When I asked him to marry me and he did not want to, I realized that his love was not true. He left us and he went back to his real family. But I learned to accept it because God said that the love of man fades but His [love] does not).”

dsc_0427Her humility and boldness freed the joy that has long been captive in her heart. Melonie had a daughter with her second husband. She decided to move on for the sake of her children. It has always been hard for her especially that her two daughters are still studying. To sustain the family’s needs, she accepts manicure and pedicure jobs from her neighbors.

Melonie and her children defiantly survive the daily struggles they inevitably need to face together. With her earning of Php150.00 ($3) a day, Melonie is worried about her children getting sick because what she earns is just enough for buying their everyday food. But she never gives up even if it means getting clean water from a well, which she braves for almost an hour just to make sure that her children will not get ill because of water-borne diseases.

The wells in Utap, Tacloban City where Melonie and her family live were damaged by Typhoon Yolanda. Utap was among the communities Operation Blessing Philippines assessed for its Water and Sanitation Project. Just last March, a well was drilled near Melonie’s house. She could now fetch clean water for her family.

Thank you for helping us in alleviating the burden the Taclobanons still carry after Yolanda’s wrath. The well is just the initial help we want to give to Melonie and more Yolanda survivors. We are also giving homes and other necessities to help them start life afresh. Visit our website to know more about our projects and the ways to donate: www.obphil.com.