It’s almost the four-month anniversary of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. So much debris covers over the survivors’ towns, loved ones and hope.
The typhoon hit on November 8, 2013, demolishing entire towns and displacing more than 1 million people. But as this woman’s story shows—a little gratitude can lead one to find the hope in any situation.
Food for the Hungry (FH) responded to the typhoon survivors with food and water distributions. Now, we are helping Filipino survivors start their lives over as they rebuild.
An Inspiring Conversation
When I last visited the Philippines, in Samar, I found myself standing with a woman near the ocean where the typhoon storm had flattened the palm trees and buildings, leaving debris strewn over the land. Together, we watched a group of men and boys clearing rubble. I stood silently with her for a moment before starting a conversation.
She pointed to the rubble and said that used to be her home. There was a young girl sitting on broken concrete, she told me that was her daughter. She went on to tell me the men and boys were her brother, husband, son and some friends.
She said they were rebuilding and were sorting through the debris for reusable material.
It was silent for a while, and then I asked her if she lost any friends or family. By God’s grace, she said she was able to tie her baby around her with a window curtain and swim to higher ground in the storm. She said her husband and older children also were able to swim.
However – sadly—she said she lost many friends and relatives, “buried under this debris” as she pointed to the areas where the bodies lay.
She then became quite thoughtful and said, “People said this super typhoon is terrible…and it is…very terrible. I lost my home and many friends…but good things also happened. Because of the storm enemies have become friends, and families have become closer, and little things – even very little things are now important.”
She talked a bit more about how they will start over, and how they will make it. At the end of the conversation, I wished her well. She thanked me saying, “Thanks for listening. It is good to unburden my thoughts with you.”
Hope to Start Over
This woman and her family are starting to rebuild their lives, along with many other people. Through your generosity, FH is able to support these people with cash-for-work programs. These programs pay Filipinos with money to clear debris.
We’re also helping children to process the disaster in child friendly spaces, which give children a safe, supervised place to play and receive trauma support.
I know this woman and many others would like to say thank you for your generosity. I personally would like to say thank you to all of those partnering with us to make a difference in the lives of these survivors.