We’re received relief goods from our barangay twice. Both times, we gave everything to Aling Aida. She and her family need the goods more than we do. We are okay.
The first bag of relief goods had about five kilos of rice, about six canned goods (sardines and corned beef) and a sheet of paracetamol. A week later, the bag had about two kilos of rice and three cans of sardines.
Not bad, really. But there’s a BUT.
While having coffee earlier, Speedy and I were chatting, and he asked if I heard Aling Aida’s story yesterday about the canned goods. No, I said, I didn’t hear. What happened? They opened a can of corned beef, had the contents for a meal and Aling Aida’s daughter threw up.
We don’t know the details. What we do know is that not all the canned goods were spoiled — the sardines from the first bag were okay, according to Aling Aida. And we do know that Aling Aida and her daughter are both competent cooks. Her daughter even makes suman from cassava that they harvest from their backyard, and she occasionally sells around the subdivision. Aling Aida brought us some a couple of weeks ago. So, no, they are NOT ignorant around food.
When I relayed the story to Alex, she wondered if no one checked the expiration dates stamped on the cans. I don’t know if anyone in Aling Aida’s household bothered. I didn’t when they were dropped on our doorstep.
The thing is, canned goods are supposed to last for years when properly stored — even beyond the “best before” date stamped on the cans. I’m now wondering just how old the canned food being distributed by the barangay is, and under what conditions they were stored prior to distribution.
It doesn’t help that there are photos and videos going around showing how rice is repacked for distribution. In one of those videos, sacks of rice are emptied and spread on a squalid floor, and shoveled into bags. I mean, we’re all trying to survive by observing strict sanitation, and that’s the way rice is repacked for distribution?