Cleft Patients share their story. Estrella Maquiling: I thought I have to die

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Nina Grace and her parents

Some people would ask ‘Is there any God?’ Some people would say ‘God is unfair’. Some  people would say ‘God punished us’. But for me God is powerful. He is there when I need him. He answers when I ask for help. All the trials that come in our life are easy to carry if there is God in our life.

My name is Estrella Garces Maquiling. I am 43 years old and married to Nestor Alijuro Maquiling 41 years old. We have six children: Estela Marie 13 yrs, Reena Marie 12 yrs, Nestor Jr 10 yrs, Jehove Nest 8 yrs, Emmanuel 5 yrs and my youngest child is Niña Grace 1 yrs. We live in Bentig, Calape, Bohol, Philippines.
Are you ready to hear my story? Before I proceed take a deep breath. Now ready fasten your seat belt and listen:
Before we met the pretty woman and her daughter
For the past years, month and days my work is colleccting sea shells and clams. My oldest daughter is selling the sea shells I have collected, in the neighborhood. So we can help my husband to feed our family. My husbands salary is not enough to support the needs of our family. Food, medicine for asthma, school expenses and supplies and  more. Even that we receive some help from the government, it is not enough. The salary of my husband is 180 Php (3,60Eur)/day. If he can work 5 days a week it is 3.600Php (72 Eur)/month. The assistance from the government is 1.400Php (28Eur)/month. This is not enough for our family. Our relatives and other people blame us why we built a big family if we can not support our childrens needs. All these comments, I will accept with the help of god. I knew that the people making these comments are tired of helping us. Only God is never tired of helping and solving my problems. I can always rely on him.
My worries about the needs of my children got worse when I felt that the conditions of my body got worse. I suffered very heavy menstrual bleeding.  At this time I thaught that Iam dying and I prayed to the Lord: ‘Lord not now because my children are not at the age that they can care for themselves. They can not feed theselves. Please Lord not now.  They are young and most of all Niña Grace needs my full attention, she is too small and in addition she has a celft lip and palate.’ I was afraid to die. But then I said to the lord, who I am to decide, if you decide it is your will. I trust in him and in all his decisions. I prayed and asked for guidance to tell me what to do. To guide me which herbal medicine to take and also to guide the doctors to help me.
The miracle of my life that God answers.
I suffered  heavy bleeding for almost 3 month. Imagine that no blood added because all the laboratory, except ultrasound was ok. Could you believe, that this is a miracle that happened in my life.
One day my eldest sister told me that there will be a mission in Tagbilaran, close to our place, to give free operations to all cleft lip and palate. Even that I felt very sick myself, I went there to enroll my child Niña Grace. But suddenly my hope was crushed. When I got there the lady in charge told me fully booked. Another woman suggested I will go and ask at ‘Gift of Life’. I went there and was told no more missions. Only one more but not for children, only adults and also very far away. So I decided to go home. What else to do and I also needed some rest, because I still felt very sick.
One day in mid January 2015, I was just sitting at the Nipahut, beeing occupied in my own thaughts, I heard a voice calling ‘Ate Tata! Ate Tata!’ That is my nickname. The voice asked me if I would like my child to be operated. I turned my head and saw a handsome white men. His name is Billmark Yu, he is a nurse and counselor of Calape, our town. He is also my neighbor and he is asking me again. If I was willing to go the health center because there is a mission looking to help cleft lip and palate. I hear it all from a distance, it sounds good. I say thank you and excuse ourselves so I can change Niña Grace and myself. I ride a pedicab to go to the center near the mother and children hospital. When I arrived there I saw a woman at the health center, her name is Maam Bebing Estapia. I ask her about the mission. She answers me at one o´clock Father Lito and company will be coming. I was waiting. Just past one o´clock I saw a car and Maam Bebing said ‘Look they are coming’. The car stopped in front of the hospital. I was surprised about the woman who joined Father Lito. She was so very pretty, kind and have a brilliant heart to help people like us. In her arms she carried her own daughter. This woman is Miss Annie Lulu and her daughter Malia Luna Lulu. After talking for a while they decide to go to our house in Bentig. When we arrive there I am so ashamed because our place is so dirty and topsy torbe. I couldn´t clean the surrounding of our house because of my condition. Maam Annie took pictures of our damaged house and also of my children. She promised me and my husband to help us with our daughter Niña Grace. Then they went back to Pangangan Island.
Reena Marie 12 yrs old: Wants to become a photographer

Translation: German

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