Sunday, 25 December 2011

A Gift Better Than Gold
Arnel Siguiza gets medical attention from Operation Blessing.

JOSE PANGANIBAN: Arnel Siguiza looked at the mines with great longing and sadness in his face. Seeing his fellow miners working, he could only stare at them enviously.

He knew the secrets in mining, the beauty found inside every tunnel, and the joy of discovering treasures in the most hidden spots of the caves. For 10 years, he explored every nook and corner of the caverns. But if there was something that he knew so well, it was the peril of the job itself.

As a father to five children, Arnel could not afford to lose his living. His income as a miner is just sufficient to get them through each day. Unfortunately, things did not remain as they were. A tragedy occurred that changed his life.

 “I had an accident while I was working inside the mine. A chunk of rock fell on my head, cracked my skull, and left my body almost paralyzed. And so ends my mining career,” he sadly retold. Because of the accident, Arnel was forced to stop mining without any other means to support his family.

 “The doctors conducted two major operations and two minor ones, yet after those procedures, I remained incapacitated. The hole in my skull healed but it left a deep scar on my head and it hurts from time to time. My right leg and foot became numb, and since then I’ve been limping,” he said.

 “Basically, gold keeps me and my family alive. But with my condition, I’m clueless how to start earning for my family again.”

Arnel’s wife doesn’t earn much as well. Their sari-sari store closed because they lack capital. She sometimes sells vegetables to her neighbors. When worse comes to worst, she tries to borrow money just to get by.

When Operation Blessing Foundation Philippines (OB) conducted a weeklong medical mission in Barangay Luklukan, Arnel did not waste the opportunity to have his condition checked.
Siguiza receives food assistance from OB, aside from a livelihood he can call his own.

 “The doctor said it was a miracle I survived. I myself couldn’t understand what happened. But I know it was God who gave me another chance to live,” he said meaningfully.

After the check-up, Arnel got free medicines and vitamins. “It’s been a long time since I last visited a doctor, so I’m really grateful you came here. Medical mission teams don’t come here often because this is such a remote place,” he told OB.

Much to his surprise, Arnel received another blessing. He and his family became beneficiaries of a livelihood opportunity selling kakanin. His wife knows how to make delicious native snacks made from rice, and so they consider the livelihood package a great gift from God.

OB provided the starting capital by buying utensils and ingredients used in cooking kakanin and turned it over to Arnel and his wife.

 “We’ve wanted this livelihood for a long time. This is like a dream come true. God heard our prayers after all. Now we won’t have to beg from our neighbors. Thank you!” a grateful Arnel said.

That day, he went home to his family with a new hope that keeps on telling him that there is something more worth than gold—the gift of a new life that he received from God. – Courtesy of  cbnAsia/ 

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