Uldarcio (34) is a farm labourer mostly doing weeding jobs on sugarcane plantations and corn fields. He is paid 150 pesos (€3) a day. When he is not hired to do weeding, he works on his own one hectare piece of land and a recently acquired hectare of land which he is leasing. He cultivates these fields with sugarcane inter cropped with corn, sweet potatoes and bananas trees.
Uldarcio is married to Analyn (34) and they have three children - Clianne (12), Clea Mae (11) and Clea (9). Analyn regrettably has health issues, specifically unexplained headaches that can become so painful that her vision is impaired. She takes pain relievers which help to ease the pain for a few hours but she has never seen a doctor as she worries about being able to pay. Her daughter Clianne sometimes wraps her forehead with a rubber band to reduce the painful throbbing. Happily the children all help with household chores to reduce the burden on their mother when she is not well.
In November 2019, Analyn and Uldarico applied for and received a loan from the PSHF to enable them to buy sugarcane points and fertilisers. They have fully paid back the loan and they are now applying for another loan, this time to buy fertilisers again but also for Analyn to be able to have a medical check-up.
Analyn and Uldarcio are excited about the prospects for their farming in the coming year. In August, they had their first sugarcane harvest and the proceeds amounted to 30,000 pesos (€600), most of which was used to lease this additional one hectare of land from a neighbour. The harvests of corn cobs and bananas were kept for home consumption. The couple’s next sugarcane harvest will likely be in June 2021 and they can expect net proceeds of more than double this year’s with twice the land size and sugar points freely available from the first harvest.
We are happy to be helping Analyn and Uldarcio with their farming and relieved that Analyn will finally be seeing a doctor to get a diagnosis and treatment for her headaches. The family live very simply in a one-roomed house in a remote area. There is a single kerosene lamp and barely any furnishings. They dream of having electricity one day and maybe another room added to their home but in the meantime, they make do with what they have. The children are all elementary school students but with the pandemic, they are studying at home with modules provided by their teachers.
Winelin De La Cruz and Ireen Ingles
PSHF Negros Oriental