I wrote in my previous article about coming to Lanao del Sur province because of persecution in Cotabato province, where my mother normally lives. I said last time that this place is paradise, but I did not know war was going to break out!
You can see on the map that Manila is at the top, and the red flag shows where I am, on Mindanao island.
Here is a closer map of western Mindanao. I am in Malabang, where the red flag is. At the top of the map you can see Marawi City, where the government soldiers are now fighting the rebels. And at the bottom of the map, you can see Cotabato City where my mom normally lives.
This is actually my sister Norma's house, but she lets us stay here since she is in Kuwait. She was building it, but she lost her job and now the house is unfinished. That is my mother in the doorway.
This is the back of the house. I live here with my mother, my brother-in-law Mohammad, his two children, and sometimes my cousin stays here and helps us. Mohammad's wife is overseas working to pay his medical bills, but she just lost her job. I stay with them and support them financially with my TMP job, and also cook and clean. The kids are schooling here. We decided to stay here because our home in Cotabato is flooded and it's more comfortable and quiet to stay in the province. Also, it is safer for me. My other siblings are still in Cotabato and have their own families with lots of kids.
The house is one room, but I hope to divide it if I can buy some wood.
The house is one room, so we divide the house with a curtain so Mohammad can have privacy.
My brother-in-law sleeps beneath the mosquito net. He was a big man before, but because of the cancer, he is very thin and like an old man. He cannot even walk long and is very weak.
This is Mohammad resting outside.
We are so worried about Mohammad. We even asked one of the old-fashioned shamans to treat him. (The shaman is on the left in the picture.) The shamans preserve the old knowledge from long ago.
Behind where my niece is standing in the last picture, is where our kitchen is. There are no electric lines in our area. We cook with wood and charcoal. It is very different from my life when I was in Manila.
This is me. Behind me is Mohammad. He is cleaning his teeth with a stick, the old-fashioned way. Behind us is the kitchen wall. It used to be open, but I have since bought wood and finished the wall.
Another look at the old wall.
We have made a temporary area so that Mohammad can clean himself with privacy (because he has had so much of his intestines removed). I hope to improve this.
This is Mohammad cleaning himself. He is weak, so his daughter is there to help him.
I received some money from GoFundMe, and thank you so much to those who donated.
The first money was used for my brother-in-law's medicines, stuff for his kids, and their food.
The second batch of money was used for the kids' school supplies, some medicines, and food for them.
The last money I received was used for medicines, all the stuff needed for Mohammad. It was good for a month's supply for Mohammad, including herbal medicine, vitamins, paracetamol for his fever as he feels it always, diapers and other things, vitamins for the kids, white shirts for their required activities in school.
I lived with my brother-in-law and his family for many years when he was healthy and in Manila. I am just returning their kindness to me by caring for him and his family.
Thank you again for your kindness, and if you can help us again, this is our GoFundMe page.