Would you volunteer to clean latrines in a slum at 7 months pregnant? Meet the woman who does.
Olive teaches 30 children inside a brightly decorated preschool, which is literally situated in the middle of a crowded, impoverished, desperate slum in Manila, Philippines.
She also volunteers with the Samaritan’s Purse Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) program in the slum to keep the community latrine clean; several times a day, Olive hauls heavy buckets of water to and from the latrine and tides it up.
“I studied education in college but I couldn’t finish, so teaching children brings me great joy,” she says. “I want to help the people around me. I want us all to have a better life—some joy for the children and some dignity for all of us.”
Outside her door– in a community facetiously called ‘Happyland’–thousands of families are struggling to survive. Some have little choice but to feed their children from plastic bags of food called ‘pag-pag’ that contain bits of buns and hamburger meat salvaged from the dumpsters outside restaurants. The discarded food is boiled and sold by the ounce for a few pesos.
Here Samaritan’s Purse staff members organized a one-day clean-up that removed 12 tons of garbage in a single day and this literally did not even scratch the surface of the trash problem.
Olive is expecting her third child. And in addition to teaching and volunteering with the WASH program, she operates a small business selling snack foods out of a small space where her family lives and works that is about six-feet by 12-feet. Her husband also works at the pier to support them.
Samaritan’s Purse has reached more than 9,000 individuals with hygiene promotion in this community. We have distributed 4,000 bars of soap and have also helped construct about two dozen new communal toilets and rehabilitated many others. More than 3,000 residents who had no access to toilets prior to this program now have access to safe, clean washrooms. Samaritan’s Purse has also constructed six water taps for the community.
“I do what I can with what God has given me,” says Olive. “We are thankful for these Samaritan’s Purse programs.”
Please pray for Olive, her soon-to-born baby and the thousands of families who need safe water and the hope of the Gospel in this community in the Philippines.