“TO PEE IS A HORROR MOVIE“
Ruffa Globio, Brgy. Balogo, Balangkayan, Eastern Samar
Very slowly, I opened my eyes. I can’t see a thing… I’m breathing like I’ve been running!
Then I realized…it’s dark as black and cold as night… chilly and creepy at first I don’t wanna recognize.
And I become aware of odd drips…I’m hearing droplets… oh… just droplets of rain…
And the tic-tac…it’s must have just been midnight!
I’m feeling very uneasy now…I have to get up… I need to. Afraid as hell, I have to go outside.
Slowly I rose from the bed… God knows I don’t want to do this.
This is a curse. Twenty-three years already are a lifetime! This has to stop!
I tried to calm myself. I need to focus… slowly, I found my slippers…
I glanced at my husband, sound asleep… I can wake him up. He wouldn’t mind.
But he’s been really tired working all day… he truly deserves what little rest I can give.
Hushed…shrewd as a thief, I opened our door… and stood there motionless for the love of my life!
How many times do I still need to do this?
But I don’t have a choice. Do i?
The sooner I get to accept that harsh reality, the sooner I can get back to bed.
But the wind… it’s icy and bitter and unkind.
I gathered all my strength. I can do this. All my life I’ve been doing this.
Determined, shoving away all my fear, I went out of our house and embraced the rain, the wind and the darkness.
I need to find the right spot. Following my instincts I tiptoed toward the bushes.
Walking-running, I looked around fearing that someone might see me.
Then I feel the grasses under my feet… this must be it…
But I kept looking behind my back. Just in time to see something moving across our house… barely seeing something moving…
I am not alone. The sudden jolt of realization is terrifying let alone nerve-wracking.
I need to get out of here. I need to be back at the house!
I am so afraid. A poker face can’t hide the erratic beating of my heart.
Then I saw the movement again. His silhouette tells me he’s a man.
Like me, he’s been looking left and right.
He must not see me. It will be humiliating.
I sneaked through the bushes. Every inch of my being just wanted to be back in the safety of our house.
I need to find the right timing. When the man’s back is fronting my direction. Now!
I almost slipped opening our door.
Wheezing I was when I reached the foot of the stairs to the little room we call bedroom.
I must have made a lot of noise coming in. My husband came rushing half awake, half asleep.
“Where have you been? It’s still midnight. Going outside at this hour and temperature is not good for you and our baby.” He said visibly alarmed.
Yes, I am seven months pregnant.
“I was just going to pee.” I told him.
“You could have just waked me up so I can go with you outside. Don’t do this again.”
Then lovingly, he held me and put me to bed again.
Funny, huh? Just to pee I must go through hell. How else to bury the poop?
But again, what can we do? We don’t have that room called toilet, others call it a comfort room.
During the day, this is how the back of the house of Ruffa Globio, 23, looks like. A pig inhabits the place. Kangkong (ipomoea aquatic), malunggay (moringa oleifera) and some camote (ipomoea batatas) grow in the area. This is where all children play… and this is the neighbourhood’s outhouse.
The grim situation is not only true to the village of Balogo in Balangkayan town, province of Eastern Samar. In the nine dioceses severely hit by mega-typhoon Haiyan, poverty incidence is at an average of 30.60%. In Eastern Samar alone, the situation is getting worse. From a 39.3% poverty incidence per family in 2006, year 2012 recorded an all-time high of 59.4%. According to the National Statistical Coordinating Board of the Philippine government, with the onslaught of typhoons Haiyan (2013), Hagupit and Jangmi (2014), the numbers are up by notches again.
“Sa sobrang kahirapan, mas importante sa amin ang makapagpatayo ng bahay at ang makakain. Yung CR, okay na kahit saan lang muna.” Ruffa narrates. (In extreme poverty, having a house and to be able to eat are more important to us. We can just have the CR anywhere for the meantime.)
Ruffa’s husband Edmon, 24, says “Naaawa ako sa kanya. Kasi ako lalaki, walang mawawala sa akin. Kahit saan, okay lang. Lalo na nung buntis pa sya, mahirap talaga para sa kanya ang walang CR. Lalo pa kapag gabi.” (I really pity my wife. I am male, nothing will happen to me. It’s okay to pee anywhere. Without our own CR, it’s very difficult for her especially when she was pregnant, especially during the night.)
In the Participatory Disaster Risk Assessment (PDRA) conducted by NASSA/Caritas Philippines three months after typhoon Haiyan, results showed that almost 40% of the households don’t have their own comfort rooms. Of the figures, 4% have been using public CR, 12% have stand-alone latrines at home and 24% are yet to see a comfort room.
As a result according to the Department of Health, diarrhoea, typhoid, cholera, amoebiasis, ascaris, roundworm and schistosomiasis proliferate in these areas. Not to mention the negative psycho-social effect having no comfort rooms has to children and women. Thus in the same PDRA, 118 communities initially expressed their need to have a good comfort room.
In August 2014, the construction of comfort rooms begun formally. NASSA/Caritas Philippines targeted to build 5,576 stand-alone latrines, CRs with shelter and communal toilets in evacuation centres.
In September 2014, Ruby and Edmon finally was able to have a comfort room of their own.
“Bilang babae, safe na safe na ang pakiramdam ako ngayon. Wala na ang pang-horror movie na eksena kapag gabi na kailangan kong umihi.” Ruffa jokes. (As a woman, I feel very safe now. No more horror movie scene during the night when I need to pee.”
“Hindi ko akalain na pwede kong mabigyan ng CR ang asawa at pamilya ko sa pamamagitan ng simbahan, ng Caritas. Akala nyo lang po, maliit na bagay lang ang CR. Para sa amin, napakalaking tulong na ito. Buong buhay naming, wala kaming CR. Ngayon lang. Para po itong isang pangarap na natupad. Salamat po sa inyo,” Edmon shyly admits. (I never thought I can provide my wife and family a CR, through the church, through Caritas. You will think this is not a big deal, but for us this is already a very big help. We don’t have a CR all our lives, only now. This is like a dream come true. Thank you.)