After Yolanda left our country with damages, my heart was called to help in my own little way, though I wished for it, still I know that I can not do it alone. Fortunately the Verbum Dei Cebu community, asked for volunteers in packing, and I offered my time. Luckily I was also given the chance to go and distribute the goods to a certain place in Daanbantayan.
Passing the areas affected by the typhoon, my heart started to bleed seeing the loss of roofs, dead trees and plants, people at the streets asking for food and water. If these people we passed by are now suffering, how much more the people whom we planned to share the goods? Reaching the place of Venus, her smile with the family amazed me , seeing their house without roof and the shade of the sunlight caught my attention for it was 11 in the morning. I questioned myself, how about if there will be heavy rain? So I went up their house and saw the wet clothes , appliances and bed. Eating together gave me an inspiration for I saw the unity among us, and the warm welcome for us touched my heart.
The distribution started at 12:30 noon with 3 lines (Suba, Dawis and Pasil). The team tried to do it calmly, orderly and peacefully. The ocular visit to Dawis with 59 families, pained me more when I saw the destroyed small houses and temporarily used the plastic tents to protect them from the heat of the sun and rain. Far away I saw the destroyed pump boats used for fishing thus livelihood was really affected for Dawis is located at the seashore and fishing is their means of living. We went also to the barangay where the Verbum Dei rendered medical assistance; looking at the eyes of each patient, these called my attention on how sad they were. We were briefed not to show tears in front of them, thus I used to shed tears every time I went to the comfort room for I am still sensitive and I couldn't say I do not feel the pain. I asked the Lord to please heal the wounded people. I can give my smile, but only God can ease the inner condition of each survivor.
Going back home, we experienced the heavy traffic, it’s true that we needed to go home as fast as we can, but in me i still want to be with them, again seeing the people at the sides of the road running, begging, crying for help. I was so touched by this situation and was able to ponder many times of the things I have, of the things I do not recognize, of the things I want to achieve, and to give thanks that my family is safe, that we are safe.
We arrived at Ma. Cristina after 6:10pm, dead tired, lied on the floor with closed eyes, but my mind was awake thinking: I was tired of what we did, but how tired were the survivors begging for help since last week? Honestly, I woke up early in the morning and gave thanks to God. The physical tiredness I felt is nothing compared with what they are feeling until now.
I also learned many things from the relief operation that the Verbum Dei team did, and some of which are openness, gratefulness, patience and oneness. Each one contributed as we are in one body; there was an eye, a mouth, a hand, a foot, a mind. And working as one showed the mystical body of Christ. I have nothing to give to assist them financially, but it did not stop me from sharing my life. This experience inspired me a lot to accept life as designed by God for me, and yet another proof that there is so much joy and happiness in giving than in receiving.
Let us continue on sharing what we have. We can close our eyes and not to see the physical reality of the people, but we can never close our hearts as not to feel the need of each family.
Precious Tonette is a committed disciple of Verbum Dei family Cebu. She is a teacher at Cebu Institute of Technology - University.
You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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