You’ll find strips of packing tape shaped like a LETTER L plastered on my bedroom ceiling. This was the best I could do to band-aid it against the rain. This tiny leak was already so stressful for me to deal with, thinking of all the appliances I would have to cover and things I would have to protect from the water. And before I could even scroll down to look for our trusty handyman’s phone number, it dawned on me—this was just a TINY leak. A leak I could live with. Most people are now wading in the flood, virtually homeless, with no food, decent clothes, or even medicine–fully exposed to the heavy rain..and here I am stressing over a few drops of rain. I felt so guilty and sick to my stomach. How dare I complain about something so little when there are others out there who have NOTHING?!
This morning I logged on to Twitter to get updates (like I always do–sometimes it’s even faster than the news) and I was completely disgusted by all the tweets of people whining about their little hassles because of the weather or people selling this and that and taking advantage of this dire situation—I rarely get pissed by random tweets but man, I was really mad. I guess I was just being too sensitive. It hits too close to home at sa totoo lang masakit.
A few years back, our preschool was completely damaged by Ondoy. Our appliances, tables, chairs, documents, books (20+ years of classic Children’s books that my mom kept!), art pieces—were all covered in mud and utterly dilapidated. Cabinets, walls, doors were all cracked and broken. I remember standing in the street–just looking at the mess and laughing and crying at the same time. Laughing hysterically because I didn’t know where or how or why!We spent weeks just rummaging through the pile of gunk, trying to salvage whatever we possibly can (which of course was practically nothing), cleaning and scrubbing and organizing. At the same time, we were taking care of a Korean family too. They lived in the bungalow next to our preschool and had nowhere else to stay. We took them in and cared for them–and was lost in translation throughout the week. But just seeing their smiles was enough to make me feel that indeed God has a purpose for everything. One day, a group of noisy teenagers from the village came to our school while we were busy cleaning.. they were dressed in cutesy sports wear and surprise, surprise, they were taking photos of each other in our completely dilapidated school in “volunteer” mode poses. They stayed for a good 30 minutes then left. You can imagine how angry we all felt, at a time na walang-wala na kami, when we needed help the most.. we felt so insulted to be used as props for their photo ops just so they could be “cool volunteers”. And this is why I am almost allergic when it comes to self promoters on social media. If you must take a photo to encourage others to help, to report a situation, to breed a sense of community, to share the positivity—then by all means, DO IT. Use your photos to send the RIGHT message. Videos and Photographs can be very powerful—it can completely change a person’s mindset, it can stimulate, it can motivate, but it can also aggravate. Be focused on the issue at hand and check yourself: will this photo generate more funds and resources for the people in need OR will it just generate more LIKES on my Fb page? Practice discernment and be sensible.
I am not a part of any organization. I am just a regular citizen, stuck at home and with a heavy feeling of helplessness. Watching the news and seeing the images caught on camera makes me feel so uneasy..knowing that there are people out there who need help and that I am limited to do only so much. I have so much respect for the volunteers, reporters, cameramen, policemen, doctors, nurses, etc on the field—who don’t even have the luxury to tweet because they’re just too busy WORKING. Nakakahiyang isipin na hanggang dito lang ang kakayanan ko. But instead of feeling stressed about the magnitude of the problem, God has given each of us the capacity to HELP. Sure some may argue that tweeting, facebooking, and even blogging pales in comparison to the actual physical work needed to move people out of their homes, pack relief goods, raise funds for rebuilding—but if you are confined to your homes at this moment, then this is something that you can do for now. And you’ll be surprised that a simple RT can go a long way! I still would like to encourage you however to set aside some time for you to assemble relief goods or spend a few hours to volunteer in your neighboring communities.Safety is a top priority, take care of your children, dont take unnecessary risks—but if you feel you are in a good position to go out there and help, please do so! God will honor you for your good deeds!:)
UPDATE: This just in! If you wish to HELP in a more concrete way, please visit http://divinemlee.com/. Divine has a very comprehensive list of details. You can also visit www.googlygooeys.com for all the emergency numbers.
If you have any information on relief centers, organizations, volunteer projects–please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org so I can share this with everyone! Maraming Salamat!:)