It is still a little dark and the only thing buzzing was the hope to leave the bitter, hard life. It’s 5:00AM, Saturnina Gam has to get up even if the soreness of yesterday’s work was still felt all over her body.
At 62, she worked just the same from way back 37 years ago. It has been the same daily routine ever since.
The market in Montevista, Compostela Valley was her second home where she spent most of her time in a day.
She knew every kind of fish she is selling in one look; what is fresh and what is not. Her whole life was constant and predictable. Every day was a struggle to thrive and survive the tough world.
One day, she met Eliseo who caught her heart in an instant. She was too young to know how to decide. She, however, followed her heart and together, they made a family, just her, him, and their only daughter Lenny.
Every time they needed money for urgent needs or emergencies like when their child was hospitalized, they have to beg.
They do not have savings since their daily income in the market was hardly enough for their daily needs.
“It was embarrassing to beg people to lend us some money, but we do not have the choice and it is sad,” said Saturnina said in local dialect.
“It was when CARD came here [Montevista] that I felt like there is hope to be alleviated from poverty,” she added.
In 2007, Saturnina joined Center for Agriculture and Rural Development (CARD), Inc. (A Microfinance NGO), a social development organization that offers microloans to support the livelihood activities of the socio-economically challenged women and families.
She started with a P3,000 loan and added it as an additional capital.
“From that initial financial assistance, I was able to grow it and now, CARD allowed me to borrow at least P50,000,” said Saturnina.
Later in her membership, she availed a House Improvement loan to make their home more comfortable than before, and happier.
At present, Saturnina said their lives have changed.
They learned how to save and their futures are secured through insurances offered by the said institution.
They do not have much, but they have enough for daily and future needs. And more importantly, they have each other.
It’s 5am, still dark but to Saturnina and the whole family, it was the brightest start of their day. (PR)