How Women Are Rebuilding After Typhoon Haiyan: Elsa Morales

“We are very lucky the storm surge didn’t really touch my town,”said Manuel Boy’ Sia Que, the mayor of Dulag municipality. “We only had one-half to one meter storm surge.”

In Ormoc, a city about an hour and a half from Tacloban, one of the hardest hit cities during Typhoon Haiyan is also like another nearby city, Dulag. Ormoc didn’t get the huge storm surge like Tacloban that took thousands of lives, but they did bear the brunt of the torrential winds.

Elsa Morales lost everything during the storm. A single mother, her husband left her in 2005. In 2009 World Vision gave her a pig to provide a livelihood for her and her four children.  She has been raising pigs organically ever since by feeding them natural plants instead of commercial feeds and creating her own fertilizers.

Elsa Morales' Pregnant Sow
Morales’ pregnant sow eats swamp cabbage. It is abundant and organic food for her pigs.

Daily morales cooks her pigs a mixture of root vegetables and swamp cabbage. In order to own pigs, one must have the capital to feed them as well as to build their pens. Women who are given goats do not need as much capital as goats eat  a variety of grasses and don’t need to be kept in a pen.

Elsa Morales stews coconut husks and swamp cabbage to feed her pigs.
Elsa Morales stews coconut husks and swamp cabbage to feed her pigs.

Morales now has two sows who are pregnant. She sells the piglets for profit. One piglet can go for 2000 pesos which in the Philippines is a rather nice payoff.

Even though Elsa Morales lost her home to the turbulent Haiyan winds she doesn’t care. She said her former home held too many bad memories. Now, she lives with her sister.

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