'It's all up to ourselves to change our situation'

HELP: Several people arrive for scheduled appointments with the Department of Public Health and Social Services for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance at the Dededo Library Tuesday Oct. 13. David Castro/The Guam Daily Post 

Editor's note: This is the third in a series of stories about workers, along with their families, who have been able to get back on their feet after losing their jobs as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic and who later received temporary help from the federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program.

Corbi and Lynette Ueda were evicted from their apartment in June because they couldn't pay the full rent as a result of losing a job in March.

They found a cheaper place to live with the help of a friend, but finding a new job in the middle of a pandemic was quite a challenge. Their bills piled up.

When they received their first federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance payout, Lynette Ueda said they both cried. "We have been through so much in a matter of three months," she said.

She shared their personal journey, hoping others will also overcome their struggles in these trying times.

"It's because of our faith in God that made our journey better than what we hoped for," she told The Guam Daily Post.

Their deepened faith coupled with their determination to survive and improve their situation helped them get through it all, she said.

They know PUA is a temporary program to help others, and PUA payments expire after reaching the 39-week mark.

"Personally, I believe that putting God before everything will make you accept what is happening and He will give us the strength, courage, wisdom and obedience we need to go through the obstacles that come our way," she said.

After multiple job searches, Corbi Ueda got an interview and was hired in October.

He went from being a car rental agent prior to the pandemic, to a property maintenance technician for a realty company, his wife said.

"It was a miracle because we thought that employers will be picky now since a lot of people are looking for jobs. And since then, he has been working and making sure his performance is on point because we learned, too, in this pandemic that you can always lose your job so we cannot take anything for granted now," she said.

Lynette Ueda said there are job openings, and it's up to the people to apply for the ones they know they can do.

"It doesn't have to be the highest paying one or the easiest one," she said. "If you are picky when you are looking for a job, your options are lesser, so any job you can do is a job to try for." 

She said encouraging others to do their best is the first step to possibly making the end of this year better than the beginning.

"I hope my story will let others know that it's all up to ourselves to change our situation," she said. "The situation or problem will always be there. It's how you react to it that will determine your future."

Lynette Ueda said the pandemic also made her appreciate more what she has, and more grateful for the kindness of other people. 

It's better, she said, when one "invites God and positivity into your life."

"I definitely want to let others know that there's light in these times of darkness," she added. 

Haidee Eugenio Gilbert

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