This is what I will remember most about my time in the Philippines. Please do these people the honor of looking at all the photos
For some context typhoon Haiyan (call Yolanda in the Philippines) was the most powerful typhoon on record. It was more powerful than hurricane Katrina. This is what we walked into.
Words will never do justice to what I have seen. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to wrap my mind around it all.
When recounting what happened it is easy to focus on all the negative things because the bad is tangible.
Ruined buildings. Lost loved ones. Persistent nightmares.
It is easy to get caught up in the sensational details of just how awful it must have been during the typhoon. I have a stack of drawings from kids describing the storm. They will give you nightmares without living through the storm.
But there is something that shouldn’t be missed in all the gory details.
There is also so much overcoming of what has happened.
After working with the staff at the maritime college and hearing more unspeakable stories and lots of overcoming suffering we walked out to this.
This is my favorite picture of the trip so far (and probably won’t lose that distinction).
It is not a great picture of me. I am unshaven and unshowered. It is a selfie in bad light. And I have a goofy smile.
What is important about the picture is the person with me.
Last day working in the #Philippines. How could a country I knew so little about a week ago steal my heart so quickly?
It’s been hard at times to get my head around just how powerful the super typhoon was. Crumbled buildings are everywhere but there is no context to how they ended up like that and there are many reasons why they might fall down.
Today we visited the wrecks of four ships washed ashore during the typhoon, which helped to provide a little context.
This is the front of the ship up against a street.
We are lucky enough to have a number of locals assisting us each day. They are kind and helpful and are doing lots of translating for us.
Even when the locals speak English it is much easier to describe their experience in their own language because they can be much more descriptive about the emotions.
Today a young woman named Hazel joined us to help out.
She was with the group my friends Sue and Emma were working with this morning. Afterwards Sue relayed this story.
I did a session with Hazel and I asked, “I know this is an odd question, but has anything good come from the storm?”
Hazel replied, “In the first few days after the storm all we thought about were our possessions. How few things we had left, how we would have to get more, and all the things that we had lost. Quickly things became much less important. Even months later things aren’t that important. I also learned that I am much stronger and much more resourceful than I ever thought. I see myself as a stronger person.”
We should never seek tragedy for the sake of lessons, but it is nice to know that there are often positives even in the midst of disaster.
Today I worked with a group of kids. We asked them to draw pictures of their family. An 11-year-old girl asked if it was OK if she drew something that symbolized each member of her family.
One of the things that I am most amazed by is Sebastiaan’s fearlessness in sharing tapping.
When we returned to the hotel from a brief tour of the area he said that he had met some guys on the soccer pitch who wanted to try tapping. There would be five of them for us to work with and Sebastiaan had arranged to meet up at the field at 5pm
Right before we left he had a phone call saying that there would only be two of them.
We headed over anyway.
When we arrived Sebastiaan walked straight up to a group of high school kids and asked if they wanted to join in.
They said yes.