Of wind and waves

Philippian families after typhoon “Hayan”

by Andrea Rudin, Martina Zelt,  2014/03/26

When suddenly everything has disappeared, all property, one’s livelihood, the familiar home, from one day to the other everything destroyed. In that case, what do families need the most urgently? How can help have the most sustainable effect? Where is it really needed? Questions which accompany humedica staff member Andrea Rudin during her project work on the Philippines and which the humedica team has solved.

Little has been left to these people, but there is one thing which the Philippians have safely got out of the debris, something that neither wind nor waves could destroy: rock-solid family bonds, hospitality, affectionate thankfulness and plenty of positive will to reconstruct their lives! With very close impressions Andrea Rudin reports of moving fates and the start of the humedica family sponsorship program:

“I just can’t get the circumstances of the family, in the tent of which we have been sitting today, out of my head. In the evening, I stay awake for a long time, thinking about these eight people’s situation. What they all have lost by the wind and the waves!

At first, I met the grandfather, who has provisionally rebuilt his small hut himself after the typhoon “Yolanda”, as “Hayan” is called on the Philippines.

We tell him about the planned family sponsorship program and immediately the old man points to the rickety tent-house on the other side of the street.

His daughter Imelda lives there with her family, whose former hut had been washed away by the high waves. For the old man, it is much more important that we should help his daughter’s young family rather than himself. The Philippian families support each other whenever they can.

In his daughter’s makeshift tent-house I’m being offered a clear-blue wooden stool and I sit down. I ask them what they had been doing during the typhoon and how all eight family members had been able to save themselves?

“We ran into the stone house which is about twenty meters away. On the second floor, we hoped to be protected of the water. Our biggest fear was to know whether the walls on the ground floor would be able to withstand the floods.” They did, the family survived.

“Now we haven’t anything left”, says the mother sadly but composedly. They received the tent, which is separated into two rooms by a cloth, from an American help organization. Their clothes, the sack of rice in the corner and the cooking pans are aid supplies, too.

“Do the children like going to school?”, I ask. The mother pauses, then she tells me that the school building, too, had been washed away by the typhoon. The children only go to school when it doesn’t rain too hard, because the tent, which had been put up, doesn’t offer any shelter of the tropical rain. “My second son, Sherwin doesn’t go to school because he doesn’t own a backpack. He is ashamed to go to the other children with a plastic bag.” I want to offer him my old Boy Scouts rucksack, so that he can go to classes with an easy mind.

The whole conversation is with the mother. Her husband, Santiago is working for the “Cash 4 Work”-program, where he clears streets and saws cocos. The mother puts her youngest girl a new dress on, which she has received at a distribution of aid supplies.

Then, the father comes back home, just in time for the family photo. He looks tired. The clearing works are wearing him out. Nevertheless, he is motivated to continue doing everything for his family. I am impressed by this energy.

Most of the men build an own small house for the family, as soon as they have gathered enough material for it. When Santiago hears that and how we want to help, he utters a silent “Thank you!” and his face lightens up.

I am again and again impressed by the Philippians’ thankfulness. Often, I hear words of thanks or read them on signs or house walls. These people have lost everything, nevertheless, they are hospitable and generous. Another mother tells me how, two days after the storm, she had encouraged her children to share. They should give all their clothes, except some few, to other children.

The aim of our help program is, to give an initial help to the poorest families, so that they can start their own income and a new life: a water buffalo, a hand tractor or a fishing boat, so that they can work again and that they are able to provide for their new everyday life after typhoon “Hayan”.

For the start of the family sponsorship program, we hope for your support! Attend one Philippian family’s fate from now on, on their way back to independence! Any contribution counts and so we want to invite you cordially to take over a sponsorship! Thank you very much!

We are also very grateful for directed donations without taking over a sponsorship:

      humedica e.V.
      keyword family sponsorship
      account nb. 47 47
      bank code 734 500 00
      bank Sparkasse Kaufbeuren

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