Lifestyle

Bayanihan Starts At Home

Bayanihan Starts At Home

By JANE KINGSU CHENG

This community quarantine is really taking a toll on everyone, especially for parents. Not only are they worried about what’s happening out there, it’s also a challenge to keep the family preoccupied at home.

Tuguegarao city councilor and mom-of-four Maila Ting Que shares the same predicament. Taking care of her four children ages 10 to 17 years old, she keeps them busy with their online school assignments and household chores. With no help at home now, their eldest and only son Wesley, 17, takes care of cooking the rice and the clothes, their eldest daughter Stacey, 15, makes sure the house is clean, the third child Shalyn, 13, washes the dishes, and the youngest Sidney, 10, folds the clothes.

Not your ordinary day

Little did the Que family know that their regular routine would change. Last Wednesday morning, Dr. Arvin Antipolo, also a councilor in the same city, shared in their group chat that they made their own face shields. “Everyone wanted to order PPE (Personal Protective Equipment), but ubos na (they ran out). He sent instructions on how to make improvised masks,” says Maila. “We were interested to make since there were many shortage reports on PPE here in Tuguegarao and the province of Cagayan.”

Lining them up as Shalyn wears the finish product

Lining them up as Shalyn wears the finish product

This prompted Maila to spend the afternoon making DIY face shields. Since stores in Tuguegarao were already closed, she asked her cousins who owned retail shops to help her. “Sila mismo nag-open na kasi wala nang nakapasok sa mga tauhan nila (They personally opened the shops, since none of their employees were able to go to work). The cousins only opened to get the materials for us, then closed their shops again. They were the ones who also delivered to our house. It’s a collective effort,” adds Maila.

When she was able to gather enough materials, she laid them out at home and this got her children’s attention. “I showed them the photos, explained the reason we were doing it, and they offered to help,” says Maila. “We helped her, because she was doing it alone,” adds Shalyn.

Ten-year-old Sidney helps out

Ten-year-old Sidney helps out

With so many helping hands, Maila made the process systematic by assigning each of her kids specific roles. Stacey would measure the garter and make a sample for the youngest to cut. She would also cut the plastic, while Shalyn would sanitize the materials with alcohol and assist in cutting the ductapes. “Mama would assemble and we would help with the tapes. I would also wipe the face shields when done,” adds Shalyn.

Working around the clock

Their first recipients were the frontliners of Cagayan Valley Medical Center (CVMC) where Maila’s nephew Dr. Byron Corral works as a consultant. He showed photos of the final product to one of the infectious disease doctors, and it was approved. As of this writing, 100 face shields have been committed to CVMC, while the family hopes to make 400 face shields more for distribution to other parts of the city.

Aside from her children, Maila credits this initiative to her friends who have also volunteered to help. Her co-councilors Boyet Ortiz and Marj Martin Chan, and board member Perla Tumaliuan are helping out with the finances and distribution. Another friend, Katheleene Benzon, has also picked up materials from their house, so that she can also make for distribution to health workers. The other councilors will be getting materials from Maila’s house to help with the production.

Stacey cuts the materials

Stacey cuts the materials

Do good, feel good

While making the face shields at home, Maila once asked her children if they should be doing this. “They said yes, because people need them,” Shalyn adds. “I feel tired and happy. I volunteered, because I wasn’t doing anything after my online class, and because it’s for the people who are helping to beat COVID-19. I wasn’t doing anything besides watching videos, and my mom said to do something productive with our time.”

Maila believes that we should all help in our own little way. “We want to encourage everyone to be proactive during this period, and to stop complaining and help,” she ends.

Tags: Coronavirus, COVID-19, Jane Kingsu-Cheng, Maila Ting Que