The good stories: Taking flight
She was flying high.
At 30, she seemed to have it all. A glamorous job, a nice home, a beautiful family.
She traveled the world, made friends across the seas, enjoyed the glamor and perks of her globe-traipsing job. But for Suzzaraine ‘Raine’ Visda, nothing compares with the joy of being home with her young family.
Having saved enough from her years of work as a flight attendant, she and husband Joff decided that it was time for her to pack her bags. In October 2019 Raine took that final flight with Saudia Airlines, where she had worked for the last four years, and headed back home.
Home is Field Residences in Parañaque. A frequent shopper at SM City Sucat, she would oftentimes find herself looking at the condominium being built right next to it. It was her dream: a home that was so close to all the commercial places she had frequented while still renting an apartment in Sucat and also to her second home, the airport. It was perfect for her needs: providing her with the conveniences of being close to everything and with the breathing space and neighborliness of a subdivision. She invested what she had earned at a local airline and got herself a one-bedroom unit. She and her young family moved in in 2018.
Life couldn’t have become better for the young wife and mom. Packing her bags for that one-way flight back home, she was filled with the excitement of starting a life spent every day with her family. She thought of using her passion for make-up to work as a freelance make-up artist or of finding employment in a local airline. That way, she could spend more time with her daughter Kiara, while her husband did field work in Laguna.
And then the pandemic hit. The airline industry went into a tailspin. Even her make-up skills could not be put to use at a time when everyone had to stay home and events were prohibited.
The pandemic-induced economic malaise took a heavy toll on this go-getter, independent-minded woman. There were no jobs available. She would oftentimes find herself crying for not being able to help her husband financially. At one point, she thought she might lose her beautiful home.
Then she chanced upon the fictionalized biography of black hair care pioneer and mogul Madam C. J. Walker in the Netflix-produced movie Self Made. It told of how Walker overcame the hostilities of turn-of-the-century America, epic rivalries, and tumultuous marriages to become America’s first self-made Black female millionaire.
Raine had to find a way to break out of the economic crunch and do something to help her husband financially. And right at the perfect moment, she and her husband saw a poster on her home’s elevator, an open invitation to residents to become part of The Good Guys Weekend Market, which initially sold fresh fruits and vegetables and was now marketing cooked food, pastries and other edibles so residents would not have to leave their homes for their food needs.
Raine wasted no time and immediately worked on honing her skills at her other passion, baking. She started selling banana bread, cookies and ensaymada.
She made several new friends, including Tita Annie, who helped her market her products. With each weekend market, her confidence in both her baking and her entrepreneurial skills became stronger. She started adding different flavors to her baked goodies, every piece being made with the passion and love she has for her daughter after whom her business, Kiara’s Oven, was named. In true pay-it-forward fashion, she encouraged another resident, Yen, an online seller, to join the market.
Raine, Tita Annie and Yen are part of the original batch of members of SMDC The Good Guys Resident Entrepreneurship Program, which has grown to 300 residents across SMDC properties in Metro Manila. Together they inspire other residents to turn their passion into income-generating ventures.
Raine has found her wings once again. She and her husband have been able to keep their beautiful home, she has made new friends, and most of all, she has found the perfect job: a full-time wife and mom who bakes for her community on weekends.
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