Meet Nanay Cita, the grandma trike driver
WONDER LOLA. With her indomitable spirit and strength, Nancita Arguillas, 52, powers her trike to bring passengers to their destination. Nanay Cita is the lone woman among a group of trike drivers in Brgy. Gamuton, Carrascal, who are beneficiaries of MMDC's livelihood program.
CARRASCAL, Surigao del Sur — Passengers usually take a cursory look at her, their faces wondering whether this petite woman with graying hair can handle the weight and bring them to their destination. Pedal-powering a trike—locally known as sikad-sikad—is an unusual job for a woman, much more for a 52-year old grandmother.
Undaunted, Nancita Arguillas would calmly tell passengers in her self-deprecating “hugot” that if she has handled life’s many difficulties, there’s no reason she can’t managed to ferry one or two passengers.
“Nanay Cita” is the lone woman in the 15-member Gamuton Sikad-Sikad Drivers Association, in Brgy. Gamuton, in this town. She and her co-members received one unit of trike each as beneficiaries of the livelihood project of Marcventures Mining and Development Corporation (MMDC).
But the road to Nanay Cita’s membership was not an easy one.
“Some members objected because I’m a woman, and as if that’s not enough, I’m already a grandmother!” Nanay City recalls in the dialect with amusement. Luckily, the village chairman who egged her on to join the group to avail of the livelihood assistance intervened on her behalf, telling the skeptics to give her a chance.
Indeed, the mother of five and grandchildren of three did not disappoint and even surpassed expectations. She has now become an inspiration for her co-members by showing them how to maximize their profits by using the trike to start a business.
In Nanay Cita’s case, she uses her unit to sell “pandesal” in the morning before plying her daily route.
“You have to be enterprising and learn how to diversify to survive,” she says with a hearty laugh.
It’s been five months since she got her trike unit, and Nanay City says MMDC’s livelihood assistance has proven to be crucial in putting food on the table.
She explains that while her husband is into backyard hog-raising, the family could hardly make both ends meet as one of their two married children living with them has been sickly of late.
“We also have grandchildren under our roof, so it’s our responsibility to feed them,” she says.
Her daily income of P300 to P500 really made a difference, she says.
“I’m really grateful to MMDC because this livelihood assistance has really helped us with our daily needs,” she says.
And to other women, old or young, she offers this advice:
“Just work hard and persevere. And do not be discouraged by those who discriminate us because of our gender—just prove them wrong."