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I caught COVID-19 whilst giving away supplies to poor people and its okay

I was again able to work with several concerned citizens here in Cebu City, most notably  the foreigners and ex-pats who pooled any of their existing resources and supplies to give for for the needy. There’s obviously a lot of logistical challenges we’ve met along the way and of course the threats of police/military apprehension worries us throughout the day.

Cebu City has now been dubbed as the epicenter and the focal-point of the nation’s Anti COVID-19 measures since it tallied more than 4,000 positive cases, notwithstanding the number of recoveries and the lesser mortality impact on those infected. Against everyone’s wishes. The national government under its IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force) consisted of Duterte appointees and diehards overpowered the local government and impose its will of a much hardened martial-law like total lockdown of the city.
But then again, the hardened lockdowns only worsened the need for more supplies and now people are desperate for food. Nevertheless, just days before the total hardened lockdown has since been imposed. We’ve begun the distribution of the relief food packs to poor communities in the city.
At around 10:00 AM that morning. I rented a truck to get the supplies from IT Park, Lahug Cebu packed by volunteers and have it delivered near Sapang Komunidad, Guadalupe Cebu City.
Since going through the narrow in-roads in the area won’t fit a truck to pass through. So it’s only fitting that we take the boxes out and then rented some trisikad’s ferry the supplies through. Around 3 or 4 trisikad’s ferry supplies from the high-way towards the in-roads of the poor riverside community in Guadalupe.
I actually drove one of the trisikad’s myself and doggedly push it through rocky dirt road under the scorching noon-time heat.
Luckily, the people in the riverside community saw us as we approach and immediately offered to help carry the boxes for us. Maybe around 5 to 6 trips to and fro a rickety metal bridge before we were able to start the distribution at 2pm in the afternoon.
I went house-t0-house distributing boxes of groceries containing the following necessities :
  1. 12 canned goods (sardines, corned beef and beef loaf)
  2. 6 packs of Pancit Canton
  3. 6 packs of Instant Noodles
  4. 5 kilo rice
  5. 3 face masks
  6. 1 bottle of alcohol
  7.  12 sachet of Bear Brand Sakto
  8. 1 pack of Dried Fish
  9.  1 pack of monggo beans
  10. 5 packs of Vitamin C Juice Drink
It was tiring but and super fulfilling experience. I’ve seen so many happy faces. People who couldn’t believe their eyes that they’ll be receiving enough food that should sustain them for days.
One of the old women who kept on thanking me for the milk as she couldn’produce breast milk because of her sickness and that for a time being during the lockdown, they’ve just settled with water and sugar to feed their baby.
I couldn’t help the tears that streams down my face at the sad and terrible situation these people had to endure in light of the government’s reckless lockdowns.
Could they last for more weeks until July? How many people will have to die from starvation than the actual virus itself?
Here are some of the images we caught while distributing the supplies house-to-house

When I finally bid my goodbyes and walked my way home. I noticed a sharp pain in my chest and then a cold chilly feeling on my skin. I though it may have been just over-fatigue or as a result of heavy sweating after driving the trisikads back and forth from the high-way.

When I arrive home, I started feeling feverish and unwell but then the fever is just too low to be alarmed of so I drank over-the-counter medicines as I though its just nothing.

A day or two passes by, everything is normal. I did not feel anything. And then on the third day. Everything changes. At approximately 12:00 AM as I was working around some documents – I started feeling feverish but this time its so high at 40 C. I also felt pain all over my body and the general feeling of weakness and shortness of breath.

I did tried drinking over-the-counter medications to manage the fever but it kept coming back anyways. So I have to do the ”Toob” or ”steam inhalation” to try and make myself feel better. As much as there’s no science backing it up but it somehow worked the first time. I was sweating all over my body and my temperature immediately dropped back to normal. My fever is gone and so does the feeling of weakness and body pains.

I went to our local-brgy health center and finally got myself tested. I was told a day after that I am positive for COVID-19 and that I appeared to be asymptomatic as I am not displaying any of the symptoms (or so they thought as Toob cured it). They want to put me on isolation in the isolation center but I asked to remain locked up at home and be isolated there as I have work and would need the tiniest amount of income I could get to keep my family fed.

Luckily, they acceded to my request and since then up to the time of writing – I am locked up at home and slowly recovering from COVID-19 infection. I knew I got this during the supply run and its price I have to pay for going the extra mile in helping people and make sure that their families won’t starve under the lockdown.

Whenever I think about the pain, the shortness of breath and fever. I think about those happy faces and the sounds of giggling children eagerly drinking the Vitamin C juice drinks that came along with the boxes. And then, all too suddenly – the feeling of pain and fear subsides. I feel euphoric to the highest degree that somehow I’ve helped a lot of people and in my own little way eased their sufferings.

If you want to help us give more food packs to the locked-up inhabitants of Cebu City. Please feel free to send me an email juanlunacebu@gmail.com

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