Menchie Camba sells siomai and other homemade food to help augment her income to support her family during this crisis.
While most of us are within the comfort of our homes, there are people out there who are working as front liners – braving the streets despite fear and leading the fight against COVID-19.
Clemencia Camba or Menchie to those who personally know her is one of them.
The 50-year-old is among the seven councilors in Barangay Talaba who works around the clock ever since the pandemic struck the Philippines early this year.
For Menchie, every single day as a front liner tells a different story. After all, this pandemic did not only catch everyone by surprise but also put us to a test as we cope with different things and deal with different challenges after the government placed Luzon under an enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) to curb the spread of the virus.
As a barangay councilor in-charge of health and sanitation and social services, Menchie works tirelessly to carry out her responsibilities. Her role as member of the Barangay Health Emergency Response Team (BHERT) is very crucial as she helps ensure that health and safety protocols are strictly implemented. She conducts face-to-face interviews with her returning kabarangays who came from highly infected places; coordinates with the Atimonan Rural Health Unit (RHU) on the status of suspected persons; and monitors their overall health status and compliance with 14-day mandatory quarantine.
Menchie also attends to her sick kabarangays who seek medical advice via the RHU’s telemedicine program. If medicine is needed, she delivers them directly to the house of the patient.
The COVID-19 situation, despite the long work hours, awakened Menchie’s passion for volunteerism. When she can, she also helps man the checkpoints in her barangay and helps distribute relief goods.
The biggest challenge during this time is the lack of appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) and inadequate supply of other sanitation products, she observed, noting that the absence of these necessities is like going into a war without weapons – as if the invisible enemy is not a challenge enough.
She added that what is currently happening in the world feels like a suspense movie: “It’s a very difficult situation. If the pandemic continues, will we survive? To me, we are now in a life and death situation.”
She also has personal burdens to bear amid this situation. As a widowed mother of three, she is constantly plagued with fears that she will contract the virus and spread it to her family.
That’s why she makes sure that she is always wearing PPE and observing all safety measures.
Menchie has other worries. Among them is how to sustain the needs of her family considering the uncertainty on when the pandemic will end.
Besides working as a barangay councilor, Menchie works as an on-call food server in catering events – a job that was one of the hardest-hit by the pandemic.
Right now, Menchie tries to meet her family’s needs by selling homemade food and delicacies. But despite the financial worries, her heart for public service remains firm.
“It is very rewarding to serve our constituents during this tough battle against COVID-19 and to fulfill to my sworn duty as an elected barangay official,” she proudly shared.
Menchie remains grateful that there are no positive cases of COVID-19 in their barangay, which she credits to the proactive efforts in addressing the health crisis.
For Menchie, COVID-19 is a very unique challenge but it also gave her two important lessons in life: to remain faithful to God, and to value her relationships with her family and the people that surrounds her.
While she knows that the road ahead remains uncertain and difficult, she still believes that as long as everyone cooperates, we can beat the pandemic.
“This pandemic halted the lives we’re used to have and changed the lives of millions of people. But I still believe that one day, this will all end, and all will go back to normal,” she mused.
Let us support our brave front liner Menchie by buying her homemade goods. You can send her a message at 09077461408 or through her Facebook account—Menchie Camba (https://www.facebook.com/menchie.camba.)