On the 5th day of April 2021, Tzu Chi Foundation volunteers visited the home of Mr. Jimmy Cruz in Purok 6 Manga District, Tagbilaran City, Bohol.

The family’s residence is located 60m away from the city road, so the home-visit team has to walk for a few minutes along the muddy pavements. Its structure is made with hollow blocks and woods but many holes are observed in their roof and it makes them suffer when rains occur and contaminates the area. During the hot season, it makes them uncomfortable to leave because of the hotness they experience. However, the land property where their house lies is owned by his wife’s parents.

Jimmy, a 45 year-old who suffered from rheumatoid arthritis (gout) found it hard to live comfortably since he cannot able to walk and both of his toes and hands lump because of his illness. This started long years ago and according to him, the reason for it was the incorrect prescription of the medicine he took before.

“It all started with just an ordinary pain in my bone and nerves way back 2000 but I was treated then. In 2015, I came back to Manila to check my condition again. Doctor’s first finding was that my uric acid is high. I came back to Bohol and started suffering gout. Unfortunately, I was not able to walk normally,” Jimmy sadly said, who also suffered from poverty.

His wife, Eden Cruz, 42 is only a fish vendor in the market every Tuesday. She only earned a small amount of money and is not enough to sustain their daily needs with their five children.

The second visitation was held on April 13, 2021. Tzu Chi volunteers brought a wheelchair that will be given for Jimmy. Brother Joven also witnessed their living condition and even observed huge rats running through the ground, clothes were hanging around, and trashes scattered behind his bed. Aside from giving him the wheelchair, it made him think of the additional assistance that Tzu Chi can give to the family.

In order to continue the cycle of love, Tzu Chi Foundation followed Master Cheng Yen’s teachings through providing him a comfortable shelter. On the 24th day of April, Tzu Chi volunteers had its third visitation to Jimmy’s residence. Along with them were the bamboo bed, and the roofing materials that would be used in repairing his house. The volunteers also did the cleaning and disinfection of the area where the patient lies. Volunteers and scholars were helping together in doing the roof repair.

Jimmy’s daughter, Ma. Janeth Cruz will be the one who assist him when her mother is out for work.

“I often entertain my father every time he may feel bored in bed. I also clean his wound and take him a bath every day. I am so thankful to Tzu Chi for helping us and providing him a wheelchair that he could use when he wants to get out of bed,” said Ma. Janeth.

“Pa, be strong for the sake of our family! I don’t want you to lose, pa. I thank God for guiding and never neglecting you despite your condition. Be strong and always trust God that you will be healed someday.” she added with tears in her eyes.

However, Lilibeth Barrete, the neighbor of Jimmy, also an active volunteer of the foundation was also touched with his condition since she can relay when the time her husband was also suffering from illness.

“Seeing the condition of Jimmy and his family, I hurriedly ask help from the Tzu Chi Foundation for him for any assistance they would give. I also find ways to help them in their living conditions, especially so that Jimmy will not be dropped by any rain water,” Lilibeth said during the interview.

“I am so grateful and thankful to Tzu Chi Foundation for the quick response and attention they’ve shown to Jimmy, for giving him a wheelchair, bamboo bed, and repairing the roof above him as well. Now, Jimmy would be able to feel comfortable and can be able to see and feel the sunlight using his wheelchair,” she added.

Tzu Chi volunteers have seen that their house is no longer dim and is more organized than before.

“We really experienced a financial crisis, but because of Tzu Chi Foundation, I can say that it helps our lives easier. They gave us what we needed, wheelchair, bed, and even repaired our roof. I am so thankful to Tzu Chi Foundation for the assistance you’ve given to me. Thank you so much for giving me my maintenance (medicine) as well, I pray that you still continue to help those who are in need.” Jimmy thankfully said and was very grateful for the love he received.

Truly, simple good deeds can mean greater appreciation for others. Now, Jimmy is comfortable in sleeping and even more optimistic that he is no longer be alone and is alleviated with the help, attention, love, and care of Tzu Chi Foundation. He would also stay his faith as strong as he can and hoping that one day he will be healed. The love that they received from Tzu Chi Foundation would surely paint in their hearts forevermore.