Civilians in the battlefield: Sarah, the young widow

#WHYPEACE: Sarah, the young widow from Mamasapano from Teach Peace Build Peace Movement on Vimeo.

Sarah and her youngest daughter, Samira | Photo by Dante Dennis Diosina Jr. for Teach Peace Build Peace MovementSarah and her youngest daughter, Samira | Photo by Dante Dennis Diosina Jr. for Teach Peace Build Peace Movement

Sarah is worried about having to raise her two daughters without their father. Almost three months ago, her husband was killedin the chaos that broke the fragile peace in their village, Tukanalipao in Mamasapano, Maguindanao.Since then, she had moved back in with her parents.

The home of Sarah’s parents, more than a kilometer away from the cornfields  | Photo by Dante Dennis Diosina Jr. for Teach Peace Build Peace MovementThe home of Sarah’s parents, more than a kilometer away from the cornfields | Photo by Dante Dennis Diosina Jr. for Teach Peace Build Peace Movement

On the ill-fated day,23-year old Badrudin left home early in the morning. He left his wife, Sarah, with their daughters, three-year old Sadiah and one-year old Samira, in their home in the cornfields.

Sarah and her two daughters, Sadiah and Samira  | Photo by Dante Dennis Diosina Jr. for Teach Peace Build Peace MovementSarah and her two daughters, Sadiah and Samira | Photo by Dante Dennis Diosina Jr. for Teach Peace Build Peace Movement

“He was headed here, to the market, to charge his cell phone,” Sarah says in Maguindanaoan. There is no power supply in the cornfields, so Badrudin regularly biked more than a kilometer to the market.

“He also went to check our carabao near the bridge,” she continues, referring  to the river that cuts across the fields.

When she started hearing gunshots later, Sarah ran from their home.

“Beba, my youngest, I grabbed her from inside the kulambo(mosquito net) in our house in the fields, I carried her; and my eldest, I put on my back. We ran to a ditch,” she recalls.

She did not have time to worry about her husband.

”In those moments, I thought he would have already arrived where he was going, where he charges [his cell phone], because that was usually the time he went to the market to charge and nothing has happened to him before.”

But the next day, she could not find him.

“I called here at my mother’s.‘Did my husband get there?’I asked. ‘Why? Are you not together?’ they said.‘No, because he charged his cell phone.’ I said.Then they said he did not make it here, he did not get here.”

When her father told her that Badrudin was found dead,  Sarah immediately thought of their daughters.

“It hurt… I almost went crazy then, because I didn’t know how I will raise my daughters anymore.”

Sarah with her children, looking at a photo of Badrudin with his two daughters   | Photo by Dante Dennis Diosina Jr. for Teach Peace Build Peace MovementSarah with her children, looking at a photo of Badrudin with his two daughters | Photo by Dante Dennis Diosina Jr. for Teach Peace Build Peace Movement

Her daughters are missing their father. “Before my eldest goes to sleep, she looks for him,” Sarah says. “Her father was the one who puts her to sleep, who feeds her.”

Sarah is putting her child to sleep. It is when the children are about to sleep that they ask their mother where their father is. | Photo by Dante Dennis Diosina Jr. for Teach Peace Build Peace MovementSarah is putting her child to sleep. It is when the children are about to sleep that they ask their mother where their father is. | Photo by Dante Dennis Diosina Jr. for Teach Peace Build Peace Movement

Here at home, he does everything, he even cooks rice, makes meals, because he doesn’t want the children to starve,” Sarah recalls of Badrudin. “He doesn’t want me to go to the farm; he said I could just take care of the children.”

Sarah is feeding her youngest child. She was used to Badrudin cooking meals and feeding their children.  | Photo by Dante Dennis Diosina Jr. for Teach Peace Build Peace MovementSarah is feeding her youngest child. She was used to Badrudin cooking meals and feeding their children. | Photo by Dante Dennis Diosina Jr. for Teach Peace Build Peace Movement

Stories told to her say Badrudin was mistook for a rebel fighter. There was a video they showed her: her husband’s hands were tied together behind his back, his teeth knocked out. Sarah is certain Badrudin was not a rebel, she knows him and they have no proof, she says.

 

“I hope this doesn’t happen again. What they call to bakwit (to evacuate) is very difficult… It’s difficult to lose your husband all of a sudden; not from disease, he just died all of sudden.”

 

Photos by Dante Dennis Diosina Jr., a Photojournalist of Teach Peace Build Peace Movement and Words by Paul Dawnson Formaran, TPBPM Communications Co-Team Leader. This was one of the stories gathered to show the impact of conflict to the families especially children from the Mindanao Peace Mission in Maguindanao: 

#WHYPEACE Project by the Teach Peace, Build Peace Movement in partnership with  Center for Social Concern and Action (DLSU-COSCA), Kaya Natin Movement, ARMM-HEART, Armed Forces of the Philippines and Young Moro Professionals Network.

 

For more information on their efforts Please contact Ms. Bernadette Fernandez at teachpeace.mail@gmail.com  

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