Tzu Chi Foundation mobilized its cleanup drive participants in Barangay Banaba, San Mateo to repair the house of Manolo Perez. Said house suffered great damage after the flood.
Days after the floodwaters at Barangay Banaba, San Mateo in Rizal subsided, the family of Manolo Perez are still staying at the covered court that served as evacuation center.
Their house, which stood next to the river and behind the dike wall in South Libis, suffered great damage in the aftermath of the flood. The floor was covered in mud. The ceiling was almost caving in from the sheer weight of the thick mud that settled on the roof.
While their neighbors had settled back to their homes, Manolo could not even start repairing his. First, he didn’t know where to begin. Although flood is common in the area, it was the first time their house was destroyed this badly. Second, he could not afford to skip work. Manolo is a construction worker, earning Php300 a day, and is the only breadwinner of the family.
Manolo’s partner, Beverly Quiros, recently gave birth to their sixth child and could not help with the repair. Neither could their other children whose ages range from 11 to 4 years old.
Desperate, Beverly approached Tzu Chi volunteers for help. While the latter were conducting the cleanup drive in Barangay Banaba, she told them about their family’s dilemma.
“I am worried about my newborn child. He is not supposed to be exposed to dust but in the evacuation area, he could easily catch any virus,” Beverly explained.
Tzu Chi heeded her plea for help. On August 19, Tzu Chi bought lumber, plywood, and nails to repair the family’s house. Carpenter participants of the cleanup drive came forward to do the repair work. Within a day, the family’s collapsing roof and walls were fixed.
“I feel relieved now that we were able to repair the house,” shared one of the carpenters, Narciso Verbo. “Earlier when I saw the house’s condition my heart felt heavy for the family. But now I somehow feel at ease because soon they will be able to return to their home.”
It might take a few more weeks however before the family can move in as they still have to wait until the mud on their floor has hardened. Then they can have it cemented.
Meanwhile, Tzu Chi will be providing the family with cash assistance so they can temporarily rent out a house or a room. Local Tzu Chi volunteers in the area are currently looking for a place for them.
“I am so happy,” shared Beverly, after finding out about Tzu Chi’s aid. “I couldn’t believe Tzu Chi would help us. I have so much gratitude to them that I cannot explain how I feel right now.”
“It would have taken me three weeks or so to have our house repaired if I had to do it alone so I am very thankful,” Manolo added.
Although the calamity brought them on their knees, the love from their neighbors and Tzu Chi volunteers will help the family get back on their feet again.