Farmer-Massage Therapist

Created on Thursday, 28 February 2019 Published Date

The gnarled hands and crow’s feet on her ancient face speak volumes about life in the countryside. The hands are calloused and lined, the veins slightly throbbing as the key informant interview progressed during SAAD Program monitoring team’s visit to her on January 22, 2019.

These are the hands that till the soil and produce food for our table. These are also the hands that deftly rub, knead, and apply gentle pressure on aging limbs of sick and rehabilitating patients.

Yes, Carolina Grande, 76 years old, widow, and resident of Brgy. Lipata, Allen, Northern Samar, considers herself first and foremost a farmer, but she also engages in therapy and reflexology as her favorite avocation. She is a beneficiary of the Rice Production Enhancement Project in the area.

As beneficiary, Lola Carolina, as she is fondly called, originally received in early 2018 one (1) sack rice seeds, 6 bags organic fertilizer, 3 bags complete fertilizer, 2 bags Urea, and 1 bag Muriate of Potash. From these inputs, she was able to harvest 78 sacks of palay during the regular cropping. In June 2018, she was a recipient of the rice repeat order; thence she was provided with the same inputs. Upon harvest during the 2nd cropping, she unprecedentedly reaped 86 sacks of palay.

Local farmers practice two cropping a year. As tenant of the 1-hectare rice field she is tilling, she is obligated to give the landowner 24 cavans of palay per cropping. After reserving 2 sacks rice seeds from her harvest for planting in the subsequent season, she sells what’s left to local wholesalers in Allen for PhP600.00/cavan.

As on-call massage therapist, she earns about PhP350.00-500.00/session, earning for her an estimated additional income of PhP4,000.00/month. Her clientele reaches as far as Catarman, by word of mouth, because of her vaunted skill.

During the interview, she talked about halcyon days when her husband was still alive, and together they cultivated 4 hectares with the help of a carabao they owned. But their rice production always remained at 20 cavans because they had no budget for fertilizers then. If ever there was extra money, they could only apply 1–2 bags for the entire field.

Hence, she was profusely grateful for being chosen as one of the SAAD Program beneficiaries because aside from the unexpected volume of production, she learned the value of full fertilization from the Farmers’ Field School conducted by the UEP, and its effect on rice productivity.

Lola Carolina may have arms that look distinctly, and her hands may be deformed, but they are instrumental in feeding and nourishing a hungry world. After all, as they say, beautiful hands are those that do work and make a difference.  (MICHAEL F. DABUET, SAAD Staff, FRANCISCO C. ROSAROSO, Chief, RAFIS)

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