Reflections from our scholars who interviewed the affected families

Maricris, 17. The family I encountered was an extended family living together. Due to the flood, they lost everything. Their father was stuck in the flood at Caloocan City where he was working. The families I met want to keep the smile on their faces even though they feel like crying inside. They want to relocate to another place. They didn’t expect a calamity would happen to them as 1K in Kasiglahan was a new place. They do not know how to start again as some of them do not have food. They do not wish to return to their place. Some of the family members have started cleaning their houses, some waiting for the weather to be better and some babies and kids were getting sick. I feel sad for the pregnant lady and wondered how the baby will be when she gives birth.”

Xierapearl, 15 Just before the flood, this family bought P1000 worth of rice and canned food to start a sari sari store. However, everything was washed out when the flood came. I said to them “I hope you don’t mind us giving only eggs and bread” but the family appreciated even the little that was given to them. Another family has an 8-month old baby and they have nothing to provide for the baby except the egg yolk. I saw a woman washing clothes and the colour of the clothes was coffee. I asked the lady why she was using the dirty water to wash the clothes and she replied “We don’t have water. I just use whatever I can get.” Initially, I was unsure of what to do at first at the evacuation site but I felt glad just being there, trying to help in whatever way I could.

Catharina, 22 A pregnant lady shared with me that she saw a child struggling in the flood. She said she managed to grab onto the child as she clung onto whatever she could grab hold of.  As I was distributing food, I saw many babies without clothes. Since the first visit, I already felt sadness in my heart. When I got home, I sent a group message to all my friends to donate clothes and they responded. I have mixed emotions. Sad for the situation I saw but happy to see their hope and resilience and to be giving what I can. Though the families want to leave the evacuation site, they do not have any place to go.

John Mark, 15. I met a father who had only 1 leg. His house was washed out by the flood. I asked him when he would return to his home and the reply was, “We have nothing to go back to.” The father was looking for materials to rebuild the house.

Reinalyn, 16. I visited the Garcia family and they shared that they lived beside the creek. When  they saw the water level rising, they were not so worried. The next thing they knew, the water rushed into the house and they fled for their lives without time to grab anything.

Janice, 11. I visited room 111 and I felt sad when I saw many children who were sick and some who were without clothes.  I saw a 3-year old girl who had flu and her mother, Juia, is heavily pregnant with her 3rdchild. When we entered the room, the first thing I was told was that they did not have water to drink. I also interviewed the father of the Caracas family as his wife and children had returned to clean up their house. The father said he could not help because he was sick. I also met another man who was diabetic and asthmatic. I felt terrible that these families were not able to save anything.

JR, 14. The first family I met could only save a few things. They were sleeping when the flood happened. The father woke the family and they managed to escape in time. They managed to save their sleeping mats and pots. The husband is unable to work as his tricycle is spoilt due to the flood and they have no more source of income. I wonder how he will get money for another tricycle (P30, 000-P50,000) I felt sad that they lost their valuables yet I was happy for them because they had survived. Before we left, we reminded them to keep praying and hold on.

Karen, 15.I met a family with a baby. The baby had not drunk any milk that whole day. The husband drives a tricycle but it was destroyed. So he is unable to earn any money. When asked about their plans, they shared that they were afraid of another flooding as they had kids. I feel happy that we could bring happiness to the family. Despite the sudden flood, I feel thankful that the rest of the area was not flooded as more lives could have been lost.

Joana Rose, 14.The family I met saw the flood coming and panicked. They just ran for their lives. Clothes and sleeping mats were all washed away. They were just happy that they saved their children.  I’m happy that we were able to bring them food but I’m sad that they have lost everything and now they are afraid to go back home.

Jemel, 20. When we were about to enter the building, people started to approach us, asking if we had something for them. One of the families I interviewed shared that they bought rice and food to sell but everything was washed out by the flood the next day. When we went to the room, we were happy that the parents were orderly and allowed the kids to eat first. We encountered a lola living with her 5-year old granddaughter. Since they arrived on Tuesday, they have only been eating dantol. We asked the Lola what is her plan if there’s another typhoon and the old lady cried. She was overwhelmed.  We apologized for the little food they are receiving and she said “It’s ok to receive anything as long as it’s from the heart.”  She advised us “Never blame God and just keep on praying”. Even the volunteers had not eaten the whole day. In the next room, most of the other people had no water. I was overwhelmed by the experience and the gratefulness of the people. They shared with me that we are one of the few people who gave them food they could eat.

Obet, 14. I saw some grandparents having athletes’ foot and this made me sad. I also noticed that one of the men went to clean his home even though he had severe athlete’s foot.

Dominic, 14. When we entered, the people were curious and looking out of the window. Some started following us expecting to receive something. I explained that all teams would visit them and they should return to their room.  I went to the 3rd floor. There were 8 families in one room I visited. I wondered why there were so many families in one room when other rooms were vacant but some of the rooms were locked. I met a Lola who was 80 years old. I noticed that this Lola and her family had not eaten well since they went to the evacuation centre. Almost all the families we met had the same problems. They had lost everything. I’m happy that as a Filipino, we have this culture of smiling. We take pride to smile despite the devastation. My spirit has been lifted that I could help.