As we had our first visit to the Village of Mercedes last 12th of November, we’ve met and talked with the humble village leader, Mr. Margarito Francisco, and got familiar with the place and the villagers’ ways of living.
We have witnessed how peaceful their place was, how the sound of the waters flowing through the river can be heard from afar, how bamboo houses were built beside the mountains and rivers, how residents carefully washed their clothing through the clear, free-flowing waters, how kind and respectful the motor taxi drivers were and most of all, how the families managed to live without the help of electricity but only kerosene/gas or oil lamps. They were already used with this kind of set-up: sleeping just after the sun sets and waking up just before the sun rises to accomplish day to day tasks like working on abaca fiber (from the family of banana plants) and climbing coconut trees, drying its meat to be sold in the downtown or markets – these raw products from this village will yield to clothing and cooking oil.
Most of the residents haven’t had enough education to get high-paying jobs in town, this is due to financial and geographical problems, however, through their consistent effort and great physical abilities, they were able to fed and sent their 5-8 number of children to school.
“Our village’s location is quite far from the center of the Municipality of Madalag; we use to travel by motor taxis or by foot to reach places. Most households have been living since then without electricity because power lines couldn’t reach mountainous areas. We are thankful for the GFF HELPS for this Solar Project.” – Margarito Francisco, the Village Leader of Mercedes
The GFF HELPS Philippine Team is hoping to have these families’ lives improved even more since living without electricity is quite challenging especially for the families who have small children and elders. They may always rely on the sun light during the day and moon light during the night but it will never be enough if you have some newborn babies to attend to at night, children who study at night and elders to assist in the midnight. All of these will soon be solved when the Solar Project took place in December in the Village of Mercedes, Madalag, Aklan, Philippines.
by Lady Peace Remaneses, Philippines Local Representative