by Eduvijes Dumpit
When I visited the place, it was not the way I am was expecting it to be. I thought it was long and hard walk as described to me by other staff but I reached the barangay within 30-minute walk from the dropped-off point in the interior upland area in the municipality of Balangkayan, Eastern Samar. During the visit, I talked to one of the beneficiaries of our Shelter project, Ms. Anita. According to her, Malvar was founded in 1970. It’s about 3 hectares in size, with a population of 172 or 37 families in 28 households. The community’s main livelihood is subsistence farming. It has only a kindergarten and Grades 1-4 levels school.
CRS started construction of shelters in Malvar in March 2015. Of the 28 households, 26 received direct built full shelters that housed 35 families. Two are to be started yet. All shelters, as decided by the community, were made of good wooden lumbers including flooring and walling. CRS shouldered payments for the chainsaw operators, carpenters, CGI sheets and other construction materials.
|CRS’ direct -built full shelters made of good lumbers in the Brgy. Malvar. The good lumbers were provided for by community. Photo Courtesy of Arven De La Cruz|
Though they have their new homes now, residents of Malvar shared their daily challenges. Their source of electricity is through a generator managed by the community and used only during night time. The gas for generator is shouldered by the barangay fund. They don’t have water system but their drinking water supply came from the 2 springs that don’t run out during dry season. The river nearby is used in washing clothes and dishes, taking a bath and other domestic purposes.
I remember once, while I was talking to Mrs. Anita, our conversation was interrupted. Mr. Albert Olea, our field assistant in the area, said we need to immediately return to adjacent barangay of Magsaysay before the river rises due to heavy rains. This is a perennial concern of the community and their schooling children who have to cross the river to get to the school in the town proper.
They wish somebody would give them a hanging bridge. Another concern aired by the community members is the absolute lack of latrine in their community.
Barangay Malvar is really deprived of social and infrastructure services. They prayed that the officialdom of Eastern Samar (and other partners, perhaps, I pray too) will consider Malvar as their priority development project.