“You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great” that’s what Mrs. Diana M. Nieves realize after she joins Ahon Sa Hirap Inc. She was able to prove to herself that she needs to take a single step in order to reach what she dreams for herself and for her family. She was able to overcome the glitches that she thought she can’t.
A four hectare land was left to them after both her parents and her husbands’ parents died. Being both the only child, they are also the one obliged to give their parents a decent interment. Prior to the death of their parents, almost all of the investment was gone from them. Even their friends and relatives who used to be at their side when they experience life’s prosperity were also undependable. It seemed a dilemma for them because their farm’s harvest was also affected by pest and to the extent that they lost their capital. With their situation, she doubted GOD and had lost faith. However her husband was so much driven to enlighten and helped to revive her faith that made it even stronger.
The couple was so much affected by financial problem that they even consider to work abroad. The family was used to be together and it was a very difficult decision for them to make. Mrs. Nieves husband’s did not allow her to work abroad because according to her “ hindi mababayaran ng kikitaing dollars ang mag karoon ng isang ina ang isang pamamahay” earned dollars can’t replace the presence of a mother at home” thus her husband was pushed to sacrifice for them instead of her. Unfortunately, things didn’t work according to plans, maybe because her husband is also hesitant to leave. Having a family of four, they both decided to stay together; “harapin ang kahirapan and no turning back as long as we are together, we can survive” that’s what her husband firmly claims upon making up his decision in staying with his family.
Utilizing the resources that they have, the couple decided to look for a capital and personally managed their farm. So afraid of debt, Mrs. Nieves did not readily join any microfinance institution in their community. She only observed her neighbors. However one morning, she noticed that her raised vegetables generate income every day and could allow her to save for a week. Thus, she voluntarily decided to join ASHI for additional capital.
Joining the MFI in the early years connotes a lot of trials to surpass. In the 2:2:1 system of release that ASHI implemented that time wherein the group chairperson is the last member to have the release in the group after four weeks of waiting, questioned her decision in joining. Being the chairperson of the group, ultimately, she was the last to have her release. Also, the group and center responsibility at certain point of her membership pushed her to give up. However, her husband was the one that convinced her to stay and advised her to keep helping as long as she can.
Ironically, what she had gone through were the things she owe a lot of whom she is now. Her faith was awakened and she became reflective and GOD fearing. She realized that everything that happened in the past has a purpose, for her to become a better person.
She was able to learn the value of waiting. She also overcomes the feeling of envy for others. With the right attitude and aspirations in GOD’s guidance, their farm business continued to grow. Having a very good performance in ASHI, she was recognized as outstanding member and leader in the center. With her exceptional leadership among the center leaders, she was elected as Members’ Representative to the Board of ASHI. She was able to elevate objectively, issues and concerns as well as the needs of the members up to the board level that also resulted to positive outcomes. As she shares: “my life in ASHI is a ministry; time to pay back to the Lord, to share and to inspire lives”.
Her husband became a local technician of the Department of Agriculture that gave them more opportunity in farming. They practiced integrated farming in their 4 hectare land. With the help of deep wells, they are able to plant rice according to their plan. Land preparation machineries like hand tractor, helped their three (3) regular employed farmers to till the land. They are planting variety of rice and vegetables. Among the products that they are producing are in breed and high breed rice. Vegetables such as squash, mongo beans, okra, tomatoes, eggplant and ampalaya are also produced. They are also into hog breeding. They conduct artificial insemination on boars and servicing in the nearby towns of Hamtic and Sibalom.
Normally, farming is directly affected by natural calamities such as typhoon and flood, pest and diseases as well as the economic law of supply and demand. To combat these challenges, they are very careful in choosing variety of plants to grow and vegetables that are adaptive to seasons. Pest and disease on the other hand are mitigated with the help of her son and husband who are knowledgeable in crop science and are updated with latest technologies from the Department of Agriculture. Being observant on the neighboring farms could also help them to strategize their plans to avoid destructions of pest. They also tend to change their cropping pattern to avoid volume of harvest during each season. With that, they could assure that their products will yield at the desirable price. For their safety, they insure their rice at Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (PCIC).
Apart from their farm outputs today, they plan to venture into corn and water melon. They also want to put up hog fattening and meat shop later on since they are already into hog breeding.
At the moment she is savoring the triumphs of their hard labor as a family. A well- managed integrated farm from rice fields to a variety of seasonal crops of vegetables and hog breeding made its way to educate her two children. Her eldest is also an agriculture practitioner and been invited by a university to teach Agriculture while their youngest daughter is a BS Accounting graduate.
If she will be asked to describe their situation today, she would proudly say “we are just like a ship, before anchored at the harbor due to poverty, but now we are now floating on the calm ocean starting its journey to explore and enjoy the wonderful creations of GOD”. Their sacrifices reap a hundred folds because according to her, success is duly processed in accordance with time.