A Breeze of Good Deeds #41: Restoring Faith in Humanity #YolandaPH

Published on November 16, 2013

For more than a week now, we have been witnessing news about the heartbreaking destruction brought by Super Typhoon Yolanda. Lost homes, parents who lost their kids, kids who lost their parents and survivors pleading for food and water are just few of the many horrible images that we see everyday. But in every sad image, the universe does something to restore our faith in humanity. The internet is flooded by stories and pictures of people from all walks of life all over the world who have been extending a helping hand to our country.

Hours after Yolanda (Haiyan) hit the Philippines, our neighboring countries started pledging help to us. When I was younger, I could not understand why a small and poor country like the Philippines would send humanitarian assistance to other countries, some of which are way richer and more equipped than we are.

My young mind could not comprehend why we help other nations despite the fact that we can’t even help our very own. But I fully understand now. We helped those countries because it was the natural thing to do. Helping is not exclusive only to the rich and the powerful. The countries we have helped, directly or indirectly, never forgot. Because believe it or not, the world still works that way – we help, we don’t forget and then we give back when it’s our turn.

My young mind could not comprehend why the best people of our country would decide to work abroad instead of helping our very own. But I now know better. Filipino workers are all over the world. And every OFW who decided to leave his country has continuously been touching the lives of all the people who they have served or worked with. For the longest time, they have been sowing something through their good service and endless smiles. And now, we are finally reaping it.

This tragedy has also proven that helping is not limited to adults. I am pretty sure that you have seen the viral photos of two girls from the USA who were selling lemonade to aid the typhoon victims, that Japanese boy who went to the embassy to donate his piggy bank, those kids from the middle East who went with their Filipino nannies to collect donations from their neighbors, those kids who tirelessly wrote notes of encouragement to be placed in relief goods, and those kids who donated their clothes and favorite toys just because these were the only things they could probably offer. Boyet, Jeff, Joie and I were fortunate enough to be a part of the relief operations of Caritas Manila. We went to San Carlos Seminary, dropped our donations and volunteered. While I was repacking, I looked around and noticed that the volunteers are mostly young people. It gave me hope that this country is going to be in very good hands in the future.

japan Image taken from gmanetwork.com

I know that a lot of people have lost faith in this country because in a culture where everybody just wants to get ahead of somebody else, there is no place for going out of our way to help. But now, we are hearing stories of how our countrymen, even the poorest of the poor, are extending a helping hand in any way they can. Have you read the story of an old lady who donated a half-full pack of powdered milk just because it was the only thing she could afford? I also heard a story of a pedicab driver who only earns less than PHP200/day donating their family’s old clothes. Because in a disaster with this magnitude, every form of help is significant enough to make a difference.

The Philippines had been through a lot of different disasters – typhoons, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions. But in every tragedy, Filipinos continue to rise up. And as we traverse the very steep path of rebuilding this nation, we are reminded once again that every person has a duty to fulfill for humanity.

When this is over, we still have a lot of things to do. There is still the underlying problem of climate change. We need a lot of rehabilitation programs for the survivors. We need political reforms so aid will come sooner when something like this happens again. We need to educate our people to choose real leaders for this country. We need to get a lot of things done. But for now, we rise together. Bangon, Pilipinas!

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