Just a few hours after the Typhoon Sendong devastatingly hit the city, help from various organizations and institutions immediately lent help. My school, Xavier University-Ateneo de Cagayan, initiated Operation Tabang (Operation Help) for all the victims of the flood. They even housed the victims at the university covered courts. The University Christmas Party was cancelled and all the food ordered for the party were all given to the evacuees. Various establishments also helped. SM City Cagayan de Oro offered free charging stations until midnight as the power is out all over the city.
Today, I joined the volunteers. I didn’t go home as planned. I wanted to help. I went to school around 8AM. I helped packing then I went to the covered courts to help the evacuees housed by the university. By the time we arrived there, the major concern were clothes, slippers and food. We immediately went back to the satellite canteen where the goods were placed. We grabbed a box and started filling it with clothes. We went back to the covered courts thinking those are enough. But it wasn’t. We went back to the satellite canteen a couple of times to gather clothes but it still wasn’t enough. We stopped giving clothes for a while instead we distributed toothbrushes, toothpaste and bathing soap.
In between our errands, we spoke to and played with the kids. They seem to have nothing to worry about except for clothes and food. They were having fun playing with each other and the volunteers. There was this kid, whom we shall hide in the name of ‘Cristin’, we found bubbly and funny. He was acting gay, and we think that he is. At first, he acted happy-go-lucky. He had fun taking photos using my camera and played with us. After a while, I noticed he was crying on my co-volunteers’ shoulder. I asked my colleague what happened and she said that Cristin was worried about his school stuff. I was blown. He treasures his education as much as his life. We consoled him. We told him that we are going to help. We told him that we will find a way to give school materials for them. After that he smiled, then he laughed.
After an hour, other goods such as slippers came to the covered courts as requested, and everything starts to be stressful. The victims immediately rushed to our station to get their slippers. Unfortunately, the slippers were not enough. There were still many of them who needs slippers. They rushed to our station whenever they see a box coming our way thinking that those are another set of clothes and blankets.
It was stressful, yes. My feet aches a lot from all the walking and playing. My body hurts like it was pound by a hammer. All of it were worthy, every time I see smiles on their faces.
The evacuees are still in need of blankets and pillows, especially the kids. For those who would like to make their donations, click here.