The past week has been one terrible week for some of us, especially those affected by the 2 recent typhoons, Gener & Haikui. It was worse than Ondoy (well, in my opinion, I didn’t really feel that much wrath coming from Ondoy..from what I remember, it didn’t really rain as hard), as heavy rainfall increased per hour. I’m lucky enough to not experience the same thing that happened during Milenyo: no electricity! And the area where i live in doesn’t flood like other well-known areas to be flooded. My prayers go to those who were flooded, to those who died, to those who risked their life to save someone, to those who are feeling hopeless in the midst of the state of calamity that they have just gone through. Maybe it’s not the first time that they’ve been flooded, but the house that they would call as their home wouldn’t be the same anymore. Whenever it would rain hard, maybe those people have a heavy feeling in their hearts, because they would think of the possible unfortunate events that’ll follow right after. To those who have loved ones who died, they always mattered. In one part of our life, we’d question ourselves, ‘Do i really matter to others? Do I really exist?’ even though we’re just a small fraction of what makes the population. Each and every one of us makes us one Filipino race that’s worth dying for. To follow up on that, I’m glad to say that we have people who would actually think of others before themselves. In every calamity we have, Filipinos are always ready to help, thus living up to the reputation of being hospitable. I saw posts on Facebook, such as “THE FILIPINO SPIRIT IS WATERPROOF” or “Aahon tayo.”. And true enough, it happened; it stopped raining last Thursday or Friday, and people’s hopes started to rise.
Of course, there were tons of relief operations during the week held by different schools. I was active in Xavier since it was near & it’s the school next to mine. I helped out also back in 2009, in the Ondoy relief ops that Xavier held, but it wasn’t as productive as how I turned out this year, nor was it as long as how I helped. You can say that it looked pretty much like a tiangge, since it was noisy, crowded with people from different schools or volunteers (fellow parents of students, or teachers). It also looked like a soiree since most of us didn’t really know each other, but then we would eventually converse and we’d also meet other people whom we know and talk to them. With music at the background, you don’t know whether it was a party or a relief ops, but I’m pretty sure that every person thought that it was worth it, fun, tiring (since we’ve been carrying bags from the MPC to the classrooms), and a memorable experience.
It was a good feeling, how people immediately responded to the call (it is after all, the Call of Duty, right?) just right at Day 1, August 8, Wednesday. Cars or trucks filled with the needed goods and supplies came and this continued on until today, August 12 (assuming, since I only helped until yesterday, August 11). Every station (plastic bag givers, water, canned goods, biscuits, noodles,etc.) was so busy until 4 or 5 pm! The volunteers even seemed to be smiling the whole time and enjoying what they’re doing. I think that’s true service right there, since you should love what you’re doing & at the same time, being selfless in the first place proves enough that you’re willing to help. I felt that, probably because I liked helping out in work and I knew this is something I can do, something I’m capable of. (photo below was taken at the end of Day 1)
What touched me was seeing little kids help out, even as young as a 3 year old! At an early age, they’ve learned how to become a useful citizen (I felt like a useless one last Tuesday since I couldn’t do anything to help those affected) and to be responsible. When I was young, I’d be stuck at home playing with dolls or something but seeing this new generation stand up really opened my eyes. Photo below: Andrieu and Ben (the 3 year old) helping clean up the MPC after ops have stopped (this was Day 3).
So here’s an overview of each day I spent in XSCOD:
Day 1 - 1st photo: I was in the water station with my friends, and I can still remember that we had to pack 6 350mL bottles, or 2 1000mL bottles, and a lot more alternatives as long as it summed up to 2000mL. 2nd photo: This was a candid shot of me talking to someone, probably about how many mL of bottled water did she put in the plastic bag already, or I was asking something else. Apparently, most of my candid shots in general look as if I’m mad, but I’m actually not! D:
Photos courtesy of Deondre Ng
Day 2 - For me, it seemed so messed up because they were modifying the layout and stations. This time, I was carrying bags from the MPC to the Grade 5 classrooms, and it was tiring! Having to fall in line again and again, go through each station, go to the Grade 5 classrooms…yes, it was one cycle which you’d think it’s tiring, but once again, worth it. To reward ourselves for a great job done, we headed to Mcdo & ate there for lunch! (I wasn’t able to have a photo taken in the MPC)
Day 3 - Noodle station with the noodle gang! From passing boxes to the front table, I switched places with my friend & from there, I spent the whole day giving 2 pieces of noodle packs or 2 packs of noodles per plastic bag. Found this really fun! After ops stopped, I helped clean up the MPC (no picture) and it seemed like it was something usual. In the picture: a part of the noodle gang (since a lot left early) & the floor manager (the tallest one)
Day 4 - Last day of work for me since Sunday’s family day and I needed to rest/study for the tests on Monday! Again, I was in the noodle station, but not with the same noodle gang #sad. Early at 8 am, we headed to the Grade 7 classrooms and passed plastic bags to the trucks..and this was just SO TIRING. Arms and legs ache! And then back in the MPC, I stationed myself at the noodle area again, but there were some pauses (at around 4pm) since there was a shortage in goods, so I shifted to the clothes area, where some of my classmates and friends were. (photo was taken in the noodle area, at around 10 or 11am, estimated. Photo credits stated at the bottom right corner: Chino Andin)
So, to sum up all that has transpired:
- Filipinos are always ready to help out.
- No matter what age you are, you can help & it still counts.
- Students helped in making a difference, a big one at that, because this isn’t something students would really do in daily life. They’ve also proved that they can be responsible and become men (or women) for others. Any selfless act makes you a person for others, because you’re dying from self-centeredness (from the CLE book).
- What I just did for 4 straight days was productive, even though I didn’t devote it to studies. Productivity could mean many things or come in many forms, but it would depend upon the person who performs it. In my case, productivity was giving my time to help out.
- I think I lived 4 straight days well. (there’s a connotation).