When COVID-19 struck last year, Dr. Veronica Ramirez and her friends worked to assist the nearby Aeta communities in her hometown of Castillejos, Zambales. Dr. Ramirez is a UA&P professor, researcher, and the holder of the CRC Professorial Chair for Migration and Overseas Filipino Work. Sharing her experiences in an article for the Opus Dei website, she writes:
“After 24 years, I went on sabbatical leave. What was I supposed to do now, stuck on the foothills of the Zambales mountains? Some of my family members and friends liked going for hikes in the mountains. But that didn’t really attract me… It was then that my husband, Lambert, and I set out to do something we had never done before: a family social responsibility project for the benefit of the Aetas.
“Lambert and I started asking our friends in Manila for all sorts of basic goods, which the Aetas could use… Soon other colleagues and acquaintances from Opus Dei, from the University of Asia and the Pacific, from abroad, relatives, and many others gave donations in cash and kind. We gathered quite a load of goods when we began in September 2020.”
Dr. Ramirez’s efforts also included the construction of a study center as well as providing a source of fresh water for the community.
“It was during this time of pandemic, 2020-2021, when God gave us this opportunity to be at the service of the ‘poorest of the poor.’ We were able to connect with many people who were generous with their time and resources to support our efforts. It was during this time that crossing rivers and climbing mountains became for me a meaningful experience.”
Read the full story here.