While we here in the U.S. are suffering through this Covid-19 pandemic, we face a variety of hardships. As we endure inconveniences, many of us have options available to help us cope. If we can’t go to the grocery, most likely there is the option of having the grocery deliver the food to us. If we need medicine we can hop in our car and go to the local pharmacy drive-through window. Amazon leaves other items we need on our doorstep. If we lose our employment, many times the government makes available unemployment funds for a period of time. If there’s not enough food to feed our family in our pantry, there are local food banks, faith based organizations, schools that pass out lunches for our children and other resources available in most cases. We can drive or take public transportation to the locations distributing these goods. Having recently corresponded with Lileth Arenga, our trusted co-worker in Arapal, Cebu, I can give you some current perspective on life in rural Philippines.
If you lived on the island of Cebu in the Philippines you would be faced with very different circumstances. You would be in lockdown at the location where you were in mid-March. Check-points manned with armed guards will not let you leave that community unless you have a pass issued by proper authority. You can’t even leave your home without that pass issued by the government; one pass per family with limited use. There is punishment if you seek to break the rules. If you are among the large population that live in villages, most likely you are a day laborer who counts on your day’s wage to feed your family that evening. You have no transportation of your own so you depend on public transport…… that’s not operating. There’s no way to get to a job site even if you could leave home. You have eaten the vegetables you have grown, probably already eaten any chickens you had, and wondering how you will feed your children this week. Occasionally the local government distributes a small amount of food but not enough to meet your needs.
The medical system on the Islands of the Philippines is not as equipped to handle thousands of cases of Covid-19 as our U.S. medical community is. Many people there live miles away from the limited hospital facilities thus the strict measures, quarantines and curfews.
If you live in the area around our organic farm at Arapal Christian Camp, you are fortunate. The first week in May, the folks at Arapal distributed food and supplies to 90 families. They had requests from many more families but had to prioritize and give only to those in their community.
Arapal was able to distribute food because Shepherd’s Hill International sent extra funds in the month of May. Your donations helped feed families who are in need. Image their relief and joy at receiving these supplies. Please consider making a donation now to continue helping that community as they deal with circumstances we can only imagine. They need your help. God is blessing the efforts of Shepherd’s Hill in their area. Find us at www.shepherdshill.org where you will note you can donate online. Follow us on Facebook at shepherd’s hill international. Please pray, with us, for relief from hunger, from this virus that lurks in the air, and from fear of what tomorrow may bring.
“Home of the soul, beautiful home. There we shall rest, never to roam.” Indeed.