Building hope

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By Giano M. Libot

I have issues

Saturday, March 1, 2014


FOR the affected communities of the Bohol earthquake, life hasn’t been quite the same. Many still live in camps, internally displaced, most on land that have no sense of permanence.

For many moving on with life means having a land to call their own, and as the earthquake tore apart what once was a product of hard earned years of labor, that land no longer exists.

For the children of Bohol, a large part of the difficulty has been going back to normal life, in Canlinti, Inabanga children have been observed to have had difficulty getting over the initial months after the earthquake, often afraid whenever an aftershock hits the area. Adults have felt their lives torn apart, with no real perspective of what will happen to them in the future, and the struggle to piece together has meant that their children too share in their difficulty.

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This is a familiar story, and one someone from Cagayan de Oro would be aware of, after Sendong thousands of families lost their homes.

But life is not always hopeless in camps, and you can see it in eyes of the children in many recovery shelters, International Organization for Migration (IOM) camp managers put priority in reducing the stress and trauma brought by the earthquake, especially those that have affected young kids, and proof enough is the visibility of children still playing, running, laughing and smiling in all of these camps. For them those dreams haven’t been quite broken, and those dreams continue to be rebuilt around.

For Jed aged 9, it was a struggle to be happy even after a month, their home was his shelter after school, and their place was where he built his memories around, but recently Jed has displayed back his smile, and has shown to be quite good in “Skati”, a game most children of Bohol seem fond of playing. Running and chasing each other around the camps, though true enough that the land doesn’t seem to be theirs, and the tents don’t offer the same home that their roofs ever did, life seems to be getting better, and Jed gets better at being a child. Play has given himself and many others the necessary strength to continue with their lives.

Maribojoc is one of the 17 hardest hit municipalities in Bohol, IOM Bohol operations through camp management and coordination not only look after the needs of camps now, but also permanent solutions that can best be given by through the local government.

Much like Cagayan de Oro after Sendong, Bohol continues to build back better, the place is different but the lesson seems all too familiar, we are often reminded that the homes we build for the affected communities for the likes of Jed, will not simply put a roof on their heads. It also brings back hope.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on March 01, 2014.

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