A Journey of Blessing and Hope

July 4, 2013 1:18 am0 commentsViews: 40

A Journey of Blessing and Hope

Being a volunteer has different facet. You can volunteer in a non government organization or in the community of where you are. Most of the time being a volunteer will excite you to the work ahead but there were times that it will crush your spirit especially if you are volunteering for in response of giving help to a place stricken by a disaster.

This story happens more than a year ago but the experience we had will last us for a lifetime.

How could you describe a profound loss if you are not in the middle of it when it happened? Maybe giving a little something of yourself and a piece of something for them to have food on their  table is not enough to ease the feeling of being the recipient of the disaster that happened in several towns in Negros Oriental. When the tragedy struck in the Island where I live, I was in manila for a meeting. When my sister texted that they had evacuated their building and work for safety because of an earthquake is shaking the whole island, the 1st thing you need to do is pray for the safety of your love ones and friends and call for an update from time to time, aside from monitoring the people where I work, the situation and be thankful enough that God spared them. Late news at night I learned and seen the devastation that happened where the epicentre of a fault line is found and you could simply unable to say on what will be next after a disaster strike a community.

Back home, people who are not affected is doing their very best to give hope to those who had been severely hit. No food and water is the cry of those who had been hit the hardest and inaccessible road does not hinder the people to give immediate aid to the affected areas. Several days had passed and the relief operation is on-going from every organization and individuals who has been giving generously of their time and assistance to the area.

As one of the team Gawad Kalinga Operation “Walang Iwanan” (no one is left behind) with the BCBP group, off we go last Feb. 18, 2012 to distribute additional relief goods to the area shared by kind-hearted individual. Travelling going to the area took more than 3 hours. We passed by in one of the GK village in san San Carlos and seen the effect of earthquake in the village where several houses were partially damaged by the quake. If not for the sturdy materials that the houses were being built, several of them surely lost their homes. Talked to one the resident and her recalling the ordeal and feared for their safety could only say how thankful they were for being spared from further damaged when the earthquake happened.

Approaching Guihulngan you can see that roads and bridges were temporarily fixed to be passable to the people who want to deliver assistance to the area and connect the town’s one again. Then we passed by a barangay that relief operation is on-going, I can’t help but teary eyed seeing the people in a hurry bringing a piece of paper  on their hand to get a pack of goods being given away.  We continue our journey until we reach the town proper of Guihulngan and see a tent city where some of the residents affected by the earthquake were temporarily reside. We convene and the group split up, the BCBP and some from our group remain in Guihulngan and some of us go to La Libertad where we are scheduled to bring the relief goods in some of the barangays. For a 30mins drive going to our 1st stop we had seen the several business buildings and houses being shattered by the earthquake, some were shanties and others were homes that is being built beautifully maybe for years, a sprawling bungalow, an up and down big houses; all of these were shattered and broken before the owner’s eyes. And maybe there were homes that are being built by hard work and a lifetime of savings for years destroyed by a matter of less than 5mins when this unexpected earthquake happened.

First stop for distribution, just a matter for several minutes we are done since the people lining up to received goods were organized already by the congresswoman in the area. And off we go, we chance upon a mother carrying her month old baby and the women with her who has already the goods telling us that she just arrived from the mountain where she resides hoping to get a pack of goods but did not make it for the distribution. Hearing it and seeing the face of my friends volunteer, we have one thing in our mind, that is to get one and give a pack goods for her and a piece of bottled water and a prayer that there were more people to come and keep on sharing to these people until they were able to recover again..

Next stop is in Brgy. Solongon where the tent city for the affected communities of a landslide took place, and there are still around 39 persons missing and believed to be buried under the rubble.  Seeing the expectant faces of the people that surrounds us waiting to receive a pack of goods would simply tore your heart away. Then I heard a mother who is also one of the leaders in the tent city said if we could donate a “tsenilas”(slipper) for them. About to leave the place, Binsoi called me and ask if we could gather donation of tsenilas for the 46 families, I said ok knowing that there were enough kind-hearted individual that I know and for sure would not hesitate to give us a pair of slipper for these families.

Next distribution is an elementary school ground, where one by one name was being called out to receive the pack of goods that we bring. Having a small talk to one of the mother, and is waiting her chance if she could receive a pack of goods too even her name is not included in the list of being called. Ask why she did not enlist her name beforehand and found out that she is from another barangay. And aside from lack of food, the most that they needed were drinking water since the source that they used to get water to drink from were of brown color since the earthquake happened. As we talked with her, she shared with us about the people who have been buried in the landslide and just a few minutes’ walk from where we are and some were relatives of her husband. That fateful day; claimed the lives of many were parents of several children who are in school when it happened and now an orphaned as she continue to share with us. This brings me to think, how could this young one, cope up with the loss of both parents? Will they able to recover soon? It brings me to think of my struggle that took years for me to finally accept the passing of my mother from a lingering illness. It was really hard for me to accept that God chooses to say no for the miracle that I was asking from Him. How much more for this young individual? What is going on with their mind as they are trying to cope with the situation? As we progress in what we are doing, you can only be thankful enough that you are not one of the victims when a disaster like this changes the very lives of these people.

Back to Guihulngan, we are on the last leg of the barangay that we would bring a pack of goods. On the way up there you can see the site where a landslide happened in this town too and there were several people who are being buried under the rubble. Digging on both towns stopped already since every now and then an aftershock is still being felt in the area and a Mass has been offered to those who are still missing and believed to be buried under the rubble.  We arrived at the site, and more people were waiting and some could not even follow and form in the line, maybe because at the top of their mind, I am here to get a pack of goods that would give my family a few meals to last until another kindhearted individual shared another meal to us. Standing in the stage and looking those people trying their best to get ahead with each others to have a pack of goods securely in their hands, I can only wish that if only I can weave a magic of making those goods we bring limitless until no one is lining up again and again to received a pack of goods until their hearts would be satisfied.

While I am standing nearby a mother talked with me and shared her experiences, how fearful they were when the earthquake happened and ushered me to a spot where we could see the landslide in the nearby mountain that buried several lives. I ask if there were still communities living in the mountainside and said that there are more families nearby to where we are and they just keep on praying for safety every time an aftershock is happening. She further shared that people there had seen cracks on the mountains that a child could be able to pass it through and the residents feared for their lives. As you look around to where we are standing, you can see denuded mountains and if the people will not be able to be relocated as soon as possible, another disaster is just waiting to happen.

As we are about to leave the area, she keep on thanking us for the help that they received for the past days since they could not go back yet to tend their farm and livelihood because they are still afraid to be in field every time an aftershock occurs in the area. We don’t know until when and how the people could be able to cope up easily at the tragedy that they did not expect to happen. Maybe remembering them in our prayers could somehow ease the pain, fear and loss that they were going through until such time healing would take place in their troubled heart and mind.

Back on the road going home, a prayer is being uttered in the silent of our heart that God would continue to sustain His people, strengthen their faith and send more generous individual to share a portion of their blessings, until such time people in the area would be strong enough to start again.

A week after we are able to send 300pairs of slipper to the 45 families who requested for it in one of the barangay (native Filipino term for a village or district) affected by the earthquake.  It maybe a simple wish from the heart, but through the kind-hearted people who responded, seeing the smile of the recipient always warm the heart. And another facet of being a volunteer were experienced.



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