Time to lend a helping hand

My eyes were hurting a lot and I was developing a migraine last night from almost twelve hours of nonstop computation – income tax, withholding tax, VAT… so I decided to do some mindless facebooking and go through some online reads. The other option was to rant out loud and I didn’t want to disturb my seatmates.
Most of the blogs or articles were about Ondoy; harrowing experiences when voiced out by the very persons who went through them are so much more emotional and I can’t help but get teary-eyed.
I realized, I’m still so damn lucky. I never lived through anything like that happening to me. The nearest was on three instances in my childhood when our house nearly got caught in a fire. Our old neighborhood had houses build close to each other — only firewalls separate them. And some houses are made entirely of wood so the spread of fire was almost inevitable. So it had become an ordinary event every summer that a fire would start in one house and would spread quickly before you can even shout: Fire!
I was too young then to really feel the horror of losing almost everything you’ve put up. I only have vague memories of seeing bright reddish-orange flames and black smoke billowing out and of people running around carrying their appliances.
The one time my mom thought we should evacuate as well was when a fire broke out just three houses away from us. She didn’t find it necessary to bring anything – she said our house and car are insured anyway and just brought a large duffel bag containing all our important documents (and the insurance policies you bet). As for me, I took my school bag and my giant stuffed dog and let my real dog out of her leash (she knows the way home so I didn’t have to worry about her getting lost). And that was it. We returned a few hours later with everything intact.
But reading the Ondoy stories – these people lost homes, and sometimes loved ones. last night, Ipe even told me of a mom and daughter walking bravely home all the way from Makati to Sta. Mesa amidst thigh-high flood, only to reach the gate of their subdisivion where a sudden rush of floodwater tore the daughter and sent her down to the nearby creek all the way to Hagonoy, Bulacan. Imagine the horror!!! Her poor body traveled down that creek from Sta. Mesa to Bulacan.
Ipe and I have many friends living in Cainta and Marikina and they lost practically everything they’ve worked hard for. One of them even said, “it’s back to zero for us.”
I don’t really have the right to complain right now. So, Ipe and I just channelled our energies to helping the victims. I gathered all our canned goods and clothes that we hadn’t used and gave them to our church. A couple of friends from the school paper were also affected so we started a fund drive. I think we’ve already raised around P30k (Ipe has the list) — all these were distributed to the Amihans via bank deposit. We’ll be releasing a statement later this week to account for the funds.
Anyway, Ipe and I didn’t accept donations in kind. I personally think giving used clothing to friends is rather unkind — our friends lost furniture and appliances but they can definitely afford new clothes (and I would personally be insulted if someone gave me baul-smelling clothes). And most of our affected friends informed the money will be used to repair what has been damaged and to buy cleaning materials. Giving canned goods to them is out of the question too — these would be better given to the victims in evacuation centers, where food, water and medicine is scarce.
On the other hand, I’m thinking of meeting with my mom later this week. We used to do a Christmas Eve food-giving ride around the Metro and it might be a good idea to do it this weekend — a lot of people in the centers and on the street would surely appreciate home-cooked meals served hot to them after all the ordeal they’ve been through.
Anyway, I’ll let you guys know how it all turns out. My fifteen minutes are up and gotta get back to work. 🙂
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2 thoughts on “Time to lend a helping hand

  1. like you, i've also been blessed not to have experienced any major tragedies in life. there's so much to be thankful for. nice to know about what you're doing to help your friends. gelle and i are volunteering to collect cash for ondoy victims in mrt stations this sunday. i wonder how that will turn out.

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