Natural and man-made calamities are chilling. When nature strikes, we are at the mercy of the catastrophe that it dishes. Calamities are but normal but without vigilance, properties, sources of living and even life can be taken away. Our best preparations can go a long way towards helping us overcome tragedies.

Challenges are but a part of living and problems mold us into becoming stronger and more determined. We surely develop more hope through trials and struggles. While living through these, there are people and organizations always able and willing to help. These are the moments that enable us to continue moving forward again.

Lilibeth Capa, a resident of Aridawen, Sta. Teresita, Cagayan and a member of the Agta group, is one of the beneficiaries of the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s (DSWD) Emergency Shelter Assistance (ESA) for Typhoon Ompong. Her family was heavily affected and never knew how they will get to stand again after the devastation caused by Ompong. Their shelter made of light materials were all but ruined and many of their things were damaged. Their shelter, which was slowly built through years of hard work, was heavily damaged after just a night of battering from the typhoon. Even their livelihood, selling rattans, was affected from the effects of the storm.

Idi ipigsa na iti angin nan, imyan kamin dyay evacuation center, idyay iskwelaan nga asideg kanyami. Intugot mi dyay dadduma a gamit mi, ken dagidyay nabati ket inabbungan mi lattan iti tulda. Duwa rabii kami nga nagyan dyay evacuation center, idi agsubli kamin dyay balay awanen ti naabutan mi. Naperdi tay balay mi ket haanen mabalin a pagyanan, (When the winds blew stronger and stronger, we decided to move into the evacuation center, in a school near our house. We brought some of our things while we left most covered by a tolda (flat tent). We stayed in the evacuation center for two nights, when we came back, everything we left was damaged. Our house was destroyed, and we could not stay there anymore)” Lilibeth said.

Edwin Capa, her husband, had at times found it hard to climb steeps after the typhoon to get rattan, their primary source of income, but he continues to push through given that the endeavor is their biggest source of income. Together they have six children, but poverty caused only one of them to reach secondary level and the rest didn’t finish their elementary education. Two of their children are already married.

Idi malpas ti bagyo, haan mi ammo nu kasano kami pay makarugi ulit, pati kar-ruba mi naperdyan met laeng, awan pagalan kanen mi ken awan ti naumno a pagturugan. Tatta nga nakaawat kamin ti tulong ti gobyerno, isu ti usaren mi a pangpaurnos ti balay, (After the typhoon, we had no idea how we could start again. Our neighbors suffered the same faith as many of their properties were ruined also. It was so hard to get food and we didn’t have a proper place to sleep. Now that we have received an assistance from the government, we now have the means to be able to repair our house)” Lilibeth added.

The family of Lilibeth Capa is one of the beneficiaries of the ESA who was given assistance for the repair of their house. The family received their assistance last March 14, 2019 at the field office’s multi-purpose building. The program assists in the shelter repair of typhoon beneficiaries wherein P30,000 cash is given to typhoon victims with totally damaged houses and P10,000 for the families with partially-damaged houses.

Dakkel a katulungan kanyami dyay kwarta ta isu ti pagpaurnos mi ti balay mi, sukatan min ti semento dyay plywood tapnu haantun nalaka a maperdi nu adda man umay a bagyo, (The cash that was given to our family is a big help as we will use it to rebuild our house. We will use cement rather than plywood so when the typhoon comes, it will not be easily damaged)” Lilibeth said.

Lilibeth knows that the amount given will not be enough to fully repair and restructure their house, but she knows that the assistance given is the first step towards realizing a house that is structurally sound and able to withstand typhoons. She also knows that her family can sleep more comfortably now that the assistance is ready for them to use for repairs.

Lilibeth says that having the assistance to start doing repairs have emboldened her family to start striving not just to rebuild their home but to also rebuild their life to provide a better future to the kids that are still under her care.

Trials of every kind are difficult but with the assistance given by the agency coupled with determination, a heart willing to move forward and courage to face any challenges that come, no problem is ever insurmountable indeed. ### Written by: Queenie Mae D. Cortez and Ronie B. Lapada, Cagayan State University (CSU) Carig Campus Interns, with a report from: Chester Carlo M. Trinidad