TUBIGON, Bohol — At the edge of Pangapasan Island, a small fishing village off the coast of picturesque Bohol, is a decrepit hut too small for Arsenia Badajos and her husband.
But what boggles any imagination is how the 50-year-old woman still manages to sneak in her five growing grandchildren in their dark and cramped shanty.
Lola Arsenia’s daughter entrusted the five kids to her care, promising she’ll look for work elsewhere and come back for the children soon. Three years went by, but her daughter still hasn’t returned.
“Her friends say she’s gone for good. She already abandoned her children,” Lola Arsenia said. “When people ask my apos where their mother is, the kids say she’s already dead. So I scold them, and tell them not to say such things. She is still their mother.”
Lola Arsenia is now left with the burden of taking care of Johnny Boy, Ellen, Niño, Richard, and John Lloyd, their ages ranging from 3 to 12. At her age, she does what most grandmothers would give up doing, just to make sure she can feed her hungry grandkids.
Sometimes, she rents a baroto or boat and brings it out into the sea, where she catches fish or dives for seaweeds that she can trade or sell.
If a boat is not available, poor Lola Arsenia is left to scouring the shoreline for seashells and washed-out coconuts that she can trade for rice. She also begs for any leftover fish from the village fishermen’s catch of the day.
She said, “Every day, I pray that the Lord will bless us with anything just so the children can have something to eat.”
Always ready to help, Operation Blessing Foundation Philippines, during a medical mission in Pangapasan Island, gave Lola Arsenia the very thing she needs the most: her own baroto that she can use to haul in her own bounty from the sea for food and extra income.
Operation Blessing also eased her worries more by helping out her five grandkids as well. Each of them will receive assistance for their food and schooling.
As Lola Arsenia prays over her new fishing boat, she can only exclaim, “Daghang salamat sa Ginoo!” (Thank you so much, Lord!), an outpouring of gratitude to God, as well as to OB’s livelihood assistance program.
YOU CAN MAKE A LASTING CHANGE IN FAMILIES!
By sponsoring small-scale livelihood projects for low-income Filipino families, you are helping them on the road to self-sufficiency. Call Operation Blessing now at (02) 477-7802 to inquire how you can support our livelihood assistance programs.
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