Allow me to share these images taken by my good friend and photographer Paolo Ruiz.
This was definitely a life changing experience for our small team of 3: Me, Patrick and Paolo. We traveled with the OXFAM International team to Daanbantayan (4 hours away from Cebu city) to help with their distribution of hygiene kits and water sanitation packs for the communities there.
To the OXFAM team, I’ve said this before but I will say it again..You taught us the value of kindness and excellence in service (especially when it comes to volunteer/aid missions). You left your wives, husbands, children in your respective home countries and traveled all the way to the Philippines just to provide financial, physical and emotional support. Maraming, maraming salamat.
To the people of Daanbantayan, we salute you. Thank you for hugging us, holding our hands, exchanging jokes and warm banter, making us feel so welcome. Thank you too for being so patient, lining up for hours under the heat of the sun and still we heard no whining/complaining. Such a beautiful display of gratefulness in Daanbantayan—they lost everything but they still managed to SMILE and thank the Lord for his goodness. They praised the Lord so openly, claiming his sovereign power over them. Amazing. I couldn’t take hold of my emotions and so I cried a bit, I actually felt ashamed. Here I am, a city dweller, living a very comfortable life—and yet my praises to God have always been very limited. It was so humbling indeed and definitely put things in perspective for me.
There’s still SO much that needs to be done here. Weeks, maybe even months of rebuilding and rehabilitation. And there are so many other places that have yet to be reached—with your help, OXFAM International will be able to address the needs of these people in far flung areas.
If you would like to donate via OXFAM, please visitwww.oxfam.org.uk. Thank you for your time 🙂
Photos by Paolo Ruiz