Daniel Mentalar is a man with high hopes and dreams for his family. He came from a family of six members from the Province of Zamboanga del Sur, Philippines.
He started driving a tricycle at the age of seven and worked three to four hours a day until such time he was matured enough to get a driver’s license and become a full time tricycle driver. From that time he did not look for another job until he got married to Victoria Velasco and they were blessed with six children.
After driving a tricycle for more than 15 years on the road ferrying a passengers from pier to school, market and offices within the city he applied to the Pedalling to Live project and was accepted. He is now religiously paying 60 pesos (AUD$1.70) a day as payment for the tricycle unit and 20 pesos (AUD$0.57) per day for his savings at the local cooperative.
He drives from early in the morning until 8:00 in the evening . He earns 300-400 pesos a day ($AUD11.30). His income is good but only covers the costs of food and school obligations.
Victoria Mentalar, his wife works as house helper at their neighbor and earns 2,000 pesos every month (AUD$57). Victoria starts her work at 7:00am and goes home at 7:00pm. They send their four children to public school and leave their youngest children at home.
During my home visit I found that Daniel and his family live in a place where it is dangerous for the children, especially during typhoon and heavy rains. They rent a small room which is used for dining and living. The kitchen is located near the seashore which is some distance from the rented room. Each month they 900 pesos in rent (AUD$25 every month).
Daniel signed a contract for 25,000 pesos (AUD$700) for the tricycle and is now into the fifth month of the contract. He will be our next housing beneficiary (Cycling to Build – Green Shelter) as soon as his loan is repaid.
The dream of many families is to have decent homes and live in a harmonious community. This dream has become a reality for many and hopefully Daniel and his family will soon realise their dream. To date 14 housing units have been built. The houses are made from local materials - clay, rice straw, rice husks.
Situated among the houses is a small multi-purpose hall with two bedrooms and a kitchen. It is used for monthly gatherings, prayer meetings and a play area for toddlers. The space helps to build a community.
Virgenia O. Vidad is the Program Coordinator of Pedaling to Live and Green Shelter. A Ministry of Columban Fr Oliver McCrossan.