A community where everyone treats each other with love and concern is a happy community; and no one knows this better than the Lubon family for many times, they have personally experienced the kindness of their neighbors.
The Lubon family are among the over 2,000 currently residing inside the Great Love City. The 50-hectare land located in Barangay Lilo-an, Ormoc is Tzu Chi’s housing village for the families displaced by Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan).
In 2016, the father, Rolando, had a stroke that robbed him the use of the left side of his body. All of a sudden, the once simple life that the family lived was shaken from its very foundations. Rolando had to leave behind his job as a welder and stay at home to be taken care of by his family.
Prior to Rolando’s stroke, the family was able to make ends meet. His wife, 49-year-old Lorna, accepts laundry works from their village, thus the couple managed to send their children to school.
“After he had the stroke, I lost the will to live,” shares Lorna. “I thought, how would I raise my children without him? So I stopped taking my medicines until my diabetes got worse. I was brought to the hospital. When I went home, I can no longer see [because of cataracts].”
With their father bedridden and their mother going blind, the Lubon siblings had to take charge of the family’s situation. The eldest brother became a construction worker in order to provide their daily needs.
While the two youngest Lubon children are often in school, 20-year-old Ledel, the middle child, had to sacrifice her education to take care of the household chores and their parents. However, with a goiter, this is no easy feat.
Jelly Jane Dosdos, 20, knew Ledel’s struggles well and wishes to help. They have been friends even before Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) struck. Hence, she would often come to pay Ledel and her family a visit and assist in the chores.
“I feel bad for my friend because she has goiter. In her condition, she easily gets tired but she has to do all the chores herself. That’s why I try to visit them every day so I can help her,” says Dosdos.
In April this year, Tzu Chi volunteers who are also residents of Tzu Chi’s housing village heard about the Lubon family’s situation. Unable to sit still while their neighbour is suffering, they mobilized to help clean up the family’s home and even gave the couple a bath and a haircut. It had been days since they last took a bath and it had been months since he last had a cut, Rolando had told the volunteers. He couldn’t express his gratitude enough.
The volunteers promised to come back in the next days to check on the couple again.
On May 15, the volunteers deliver on their promise as they pay the family another visit. They are joined by 20 members of the recently-formed Ormoc Youth group.
Like they did last time, the volunteers help in cleaning the family’s home. They cut the tall grasses that have grown on the backyard, dust the walls of the house, clean the toilet, and wash the dishes. Some also help out in cooking the couple’s meal. They even massage the stiff legs and arms of Rolando to give him some respite from his suffering.
“I feel so much happiness in my heart because there are people like Tzu Chi volunteers who care so much about us,” says Rolando.
His wife seconds this. “They really don’t have to do this because cleaning our home is our responsibility but they still came her to help. I’m very thankful,” she says.
Ledel also appreciates the volunteers’ concern for her parents. She can see how much these gestures can bring out her parents’ sweet smiles.
“It’s hard for me because I have to do the chores alone but I feel very happy because these volunteers are here to help out. Although we are not related by blood, they still offer to help,” Ledel says.
Touched by the volunteers’ kindness during their first visit, Ledel decided to also join the Ormoc Youth group as volunteer. “This way, I wanted to also help others because these people have helped my family; so I also wish to extend the same kindness to others,” she says.
Meanwhile, for the 20 Ormoc Youth members who are present to extend loving care to the Lubon couple, helping them is like helping a needy family member.
“During our visit, I thought ‘what if they are my own parents? It would be so hard if I couldn’t even give them a proper bath’. That’s why, coming here, we help them from our hearts,” says Reynante Imperial.
According to Tzu Chi volunteer Juanito Suco Jr., who lead the young volunteers in the activity, organizing the Ormoc Youth group aims to keep the young locals in the right path. Since the group was formed, they have been taking part in various productive works inside the village as volunteers such as recycling collection, assisting during rice distributions, among others.
“Before, we noticed these young ones were spending their time on their cellular phones or smoking cigarettes. Organizing them into a group, we hope to teach them to help others and I feel very happy that since their group started, I have seen a lot of improvement in their attitude and they left behind their ill vices as well,” says Suco.
“I’m glad to say that Master’s [Cheng Yen] teachings to us are not put to waste here,” he ends.
Aboard a truck, Tzu Chi volunteers and Ormoc Youth members arrive at the house of the Lubon family.【Photo by Jamaica Digo】
Cleaning materials at hand, the Youth group of Ormoc go to the house of the Lubon family.【Photo by Jamaica Digo】
Jelly Jane Dosdos lends her friend, Ledel Lubon, a hand in doing the household chores.【Photo by Jamaica Digo】
The youth group of Ormoc Great Love City residents work together in cutting the tall grasses that have grown on the Lubon family’s backyard.【Photo by Jamaica Digo】
Tzu Chi volunteer Juanito Suco Jr. massage Rolando Lubon’s left arm, which is stiff from a stroke a year ago.【Photo by Jamaica Digo】
Lorna Lubon expresses her gratitude to one of the Ormoc Youth members who help out in cleaning their home and taking care of her and her husband.【Photo by Jamaica Digo】
Members of Ormoc Youth group brought their own cleaning materials to hep clean the home of the Lubon family.【Photo by Jamaica Digo】
Reynante Imperial cleans the family’s toilet and bathroom without hesitations. He treats the Lubon couple as his own parents; hence he makes sure that their home is clean and habitable. 【Photo by Jamaica Digo】
Since she can no longer see clearly, Lorna Lubon’s daughter, Ledel, has to spoon feed her during mealtimes.【Photo by Jamaica Digo】
Tzu Chi volunteer Juanito Suco Jr. and members of the Ormoc Youth group assist Lorna Lubon in eating.【Photo by Jamaica Digo】
Members of Ormoc Youth group treat Lorna Lubon with utmost respect and care, just like they would to their own mothers.【Photo by Jamaica Digo】