Rosie and Gaudencio have been forced into large debt to do medical complications from Gaudencio's gangrene. He has had most of one leg removed and three fingers.
Note: This article was written by Camilla Hollands-Hurst - a Meaningful Volunteer who devoted five weeks of her life to help the less fortunate in the Philppines via the RYE School program.
From the moment I met Rosie I was completely taken back by her. She is one of those ladies who radiates happiness. Rosie's smile never leaves her face and her laugh is so infectcious that even the grumpiest of people would have a real job not breaking into fits of giggles around her. The welcome she gave me when I first met her was one that you would expect to receive from a close family mother or best friend. She seems so happy that if I met her at home (in England) I’d immediately assume that she lived in a nice house, with a steady income and children all doing well at school with good job prospects, in other words a very comfortable family situation. Rosie is one of the happiest souls in Cawayan, always laughing and joking and always with a huge smile on her face! A real joy to be around and I was completely in awe of her happy spirit and kindness from the first time I met her.
How deceiving a person’s aura can be...Rosie and her family have been suffering for the last 13 years.
Tragically in 1996 Rosie’s husband Gaudencio developed Gangrene in his right leg, so badly that he had to have it amputated. His leg went black and was in severe pain for six months prior to the amputation, too uncomfortable to even sleep. Eventually there was no choice but to pay for the amputation. In order to fund the operation Gaudencio had to sell his mothers land that had been passed down to him. After the operation Gaudencio was unable to work, this has been a real strain on the family, particularly as he is such a proactive man by nature. To make matters worse in 2006, 2007 and 2008 the Gangrene developed even further in to three of his fingers on his right hand and he had to have a finger removed each year respectively.
Now Gaudencio only as 7 fingers and one leg. Not only has it been a strain on the family due to lack of income, but additionally the operations on the fingers cost them money that they did not have. They had to take out a large loan. Each operation, except one had to be done on another island due to the government’s inability to have a hospital on Tablas Island with enough facilities, each journey was long and expensive. Not the kind of thing you want to think about if you are a lot of pain.
Rosie started work as soon as Gaudencios leg was amputated, but a Barangay Representative only gets paid 1000 pesos every month. This is hardly enough to buy satisfactory food for a family of 5 each month let alone any other costs including education. Therefore the family cannot even think about paying back the loan they have yet. Their eldest son, Argel Paul (17 years old) has been sent to Manila to live with relatives and work instead of continuing his education. The family need his support. However Argel has not got a good enough education to get a good job, so he will be on a very small wage.
Although Rosie is always smiling she and her husband are very sad that they will not be able to support any of their son’s education further than High School and will need them to help support them through working as soon as they finish education at 17 years old. Rosie and Gaudencios greatest wish would be for all three sons to have the opportunity to continue their education through in to college to enable them to have the opportunity to get good jobs and improve on the lifestyle that they currently have.
Rosie and Gaudencio live with two of their three sons in Cawayan in a tiny little Nipya hut on the main road. I taught their youngest son Greg (13 years old) in Cawayan 3A. Rosie is an active member of the community; she is the Barangay Representative, responsible for things such as keeping an eye on preschool children’s weight and welcoming visitors the village.
Gaudencio and Rosie both grew up in Cawayan. Rosie graduated from High School, but Gaudencio only graduated from fifth grade elementry school. They both moved to Manila after Rosie finished High School, Rosie worked as a house maid and Gaudencio as a carpenter. After 10 years they thought it was time to move back to Cawayan and have a family. Gaudencio carried on working as a carpenter and they had three sons; Argel Paul, Gerald John and Greg Anthony. Argel Paul is now 17 years old and looking for work in Manila, Gerald John is in his last year of High School and Greg is in his last year of High School.
When I heard her familys tragedy I could not help but want to help her. Rosie is one of those ladies that has touched me and it is just not fair that she or any member of the Fampula family to endure any of the misfortune that they have. I hope to help them as much as I can.