Sunday, 2 March 2014

Reflections - The Last Day at Tacloban City

There is something about this town.

I feel so at home here. The people are friendly, the atmosphere is familiar and the mood is somehow graced with Hope.

I know that my heart is to help out the poor and needy, but maybe it is here in Tacloban that I am going to be called.

No mater what, though, the pilot test is going to continue with Sta.Rosa.

Potential orders of business are:

  • Meeting with the project leaders pre-existing
  • Pray and dedicate the project to the Lord
  • Generate a think-tank to assist in the resource funding for the School and the Foundation
  • Develop a marketable business plan for Australian and Philippine funding
  • Set-up partners outside of the Think Tank for continuation
So there. Now that I got that off my chest, I need to let you all know that all is not well in Tacloban City, but it is also not the apocalyptic scenario most people would have initially thought.

As with most areas affected by natural disasters, the time it takes to recover is no joke.

Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans took up to 2007 - 2009 for the relief efforts, resettlement, and re-employment to get the city back on its feet.

It has been only the 8th Nov that the Typhoon hit. It is almost 4 months and there has been power restored to 40% of the population. Businesses are starting to thrive. Displaced squatters have taken residence like mushrooms around the areas where their houses previously were.

Officially? These aforementioned informal settlers were the hardest hit. 90% of the damage, death and displacement were to the squatters / informal settlers.

It makes me sick to my stomach that anyone HAS to live in these conditions
I have heard of firsthand testimonies and a few anecdotal ones about the death and destruction they have encountered.

One story goes how this retired Sea Captain (he once was the captain of a merchant marine ship. I helped him accept the Lord Jesus) was holding on to his wife. Both were wearing life jackets and both were waiting for the storm to hit, sheltered on the top level of their home. He remembers the night before (7th Nov) his neighbours (who were informal settlers) refusing to move to secure shelters as they were still carrying on as if this was just a regular storm.

The truly sad bit was when the storm surges hit, all of these hastily-built shanties could not stand the might of the winds.

One anecdotal statement given by a government official who was in charge of getting people to the shelters, "All the women and children were going to the shelters, but the men were staying behind to guard their personal belongings!" Meagre though it may be, these "things" were vestiges of the wealth they so long to have.

It broke my heart to hear personal accounts on how this one lady survived because the entire house collapsed around her and shielded her from the storm. She and her daughter managed to stay sheltered until the winds died down and they scampered off to a shelter, only to watch what was left of their home to collapse as soon as they turned back to have a look.

Her comment to me? "The Lord has protected me."

I have countless stories of hard workers, just wanting a good-old-fashioned "Fair Go" still on a temporary contract after 9 years of working for the local Government Council. He said that he doesn't even have his superannuation (his retirement fund) paid as part of the package nor any benefits like sick leave !

Now righteous indignation is mixed with despair. Impatience is mixed with fear.

I can only do so much. I feel overwhelmed.

Then I remember that when I am weak, His strength shines through me.

That my God will give me all that I need

That He will never forsake me.

That the dream in my heart is from His desire to see more people turn to Him, to receive His gifts of forgiveness and Eternal Life.

The new chapter begins as I work towards the Foundation.

Funding or no, this will not stop the Lord from using me.

No comments:

Post a Comment