Before super typhoon Haiyan, I used to live a simple life with my husband and 7 children.

My husband, Leo Baron Lopez, used to make a living by driving a tricycle (a mode of public transportation in the Philippines, a motorcycle with a passenger cabin). We did not live a fancy life, and when one of my children had a birthday, we did not celebrate in the “normal” way with cake or candles. We celebrated with rice and noodles. Even though this was our way of life, we were still grateful for our lives and being happy…..until the day Leo died.

Leo was out with a friend when he was killed by a group of drug addicts because they said they were  "high on drugs". After the incident, I was faced with a lot of challenges. How could I provide for my children? At the time, they were still little and there were seven of them. But nevertheless, my faith did not waver. I prayed a lot and did what I could. I sold food as a way of living. Every time one of my children was celebrating a birthday, I couldn't give them anything.

After a few years, I met my new husband. Life became a little easier because he was now helping with the financial burden. He worked as a construction worker and planted crops. Everything was going well…..until super typhoon Haiyan came. Our house was destroyed, waves from the sea robbed us of everything we had, except for our faith in God. We kept praying and we survived!

Now, my two eldest children have finished high school, the others are in grade school, and the youngest is in kindergarten. I have survived all the challenges life has given me. Now I wish for my children to finish school and to have a good future. What challenges will we face next? Let's wait for the future to unfold.

The Helping Hands Philippines

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Alnelia R. Lopez

Name: Alnelia R. Lopez

Position: Barangay Health Worker, The Helping Hands Philippines, Tacloban City

Where I live: GMA Kapuso Village, Tacloban City, Philippines