Friday, August 22, 2014

Mana Maria: Proud Of ADB

The Scene
11:03AM, a hot and humid 22 August 2014, the Municipal Hall, Mayorga Leyte.
Thirsty, I walked to a little sari-sari store (across the road) looking for a bottle of water.

The Dialogue
Tindera (Storekeeper) looking at my shirt: ADB as in Asian Development Bank?
Me: Opo (yes)
Tindera: Really? ADB from Manila? (she said that in English)
Me: Opo, bakit po? [Yes, why?]
Tindera: Nice to meet you sir, I worked for ADB before (she said that in English too!)
Me: Talaga po? Saan? [Really? Where?]

And so she told me, that she once worked as 'utility' (City Service Janitorial Services?) at the old ADB offices 'near Harrison Plaza', that although her role was just to clean the areas assigned to her, she would also do errands for the 'foreigners' in her area, like she was trusted to even buy food or cigarettes for them! Then she started naming many foreign sounding names, and she said those were all her bosses and they were all very kind to her.

I politely told her I do not yet know any of those names, as I just joined as ADB Consultant about a week ago. With a little grin she said "a baka mga patay na rin sila, matagal na kasi yun hehe"! But the talk and banter with this eager and jolly old lady continued anyway. She was so excited to have seen that logo on my shirt, she is so proud we are in her town, proud too she was once part of the ADB Family, and she is even prouder we are helping Mayorga rise back from Yolanda.

Here she is: Mrs. Maria Ranosa

I call her Mana Maria. In the Waray-waray dialect "Mana" is an honorific that refers to either 'elder sister' or just an older woman. It is a customary form of respect for people older than you. Opposite of Mana is Mano (the male version). In Ilocano these two words are Manang and Manong. In Cebuano it is much the same as Ilocano, though the "ma" syllable is usually omitted when not writing the word - so its Nang and Nong in Central Visayas. Now that you know a bit of 'waray' let's go back to Mana Maria...

I somehow expected (even dreaded hehe) she would ask for some personal help/aid of any kind, like we encounter in most beneficiary towns. She did not! She just asked what ADB was doing in Mayorga. I told her we are funding projects of DSWD and probably other humanitarian/aid agencies (anticipating Mayorga might become a beneficiary town of the other Grant 9175 components). Then she beamed with pride once more, and while pointing at me, she told some folks (already crowding eager to hear our conversation), that ADB, her former employer is also in town to help in the Yolanda recovery efforts. I felt like I was an artista with everyone offering a handshake. Wow!

When I said I had to be back at the municipal hall as a meeting was in progress, Mana Maria told me I can just go back to her little store if I needed help in/about Mayorga. I mustered, 'what if someone who knows her is still at ADB'? So I backtracked, took that pic of her above... and she even gamely introduced herself on video! See below...

Touching encounter! Maybe I'll surprise her with 'something ADB' on return to this town!



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