Of Resilience and Hope-A A +A
Slice of Life
Tuesday, January 8, 2013
THEY shine like stars in the darkness of the night.
Children are the face of resiliency. In post disaster situations when outsiders and visitors flock to the area to provide relief and assist the survivors, listen to their stories and capture the extent of the disaster, their presence lightens up and provide hope to their families and the community. While most of the adults would count those that were lost from the disaster, young people would muster a smile and their grateful hearts would say, “we were glad we made it safe, we were protected by God.”
Karla, 8 years old, recalls the early dawn of December 4 when their family and neighbours have to run away from rushing waters and rocks. “Gigukod gyud mi sa tubig ug bato pero nisalig mi nga tabangan sa Ginoo mao nga niabot mi diri,” she said. “Gunit-gunit gyud mi para walay mawala ug para kung nay mahitabo mi sa imo, uban uban gihapon mi.” (We have to run away from the rushing waters and rocks but we hinged our hope that God will protect us. .We have to hold on to each other so that no one could slip away and we will be together, no matter what happens).
After Typhoon Pablo, the landscape of Barangay Andap in New Bataan, Compostela Valley was transformed from what used to be a vibrant agricultural community with a thriving eco-tourism into a desolate town. An elementary school, barangay hall, covered court, health center and part of a church were destroyed. “Naa mi mga classmates ug mga silingan nga wala pa nakita, basin natabunan na sila sa dagkong mga bato ug naa pud mi mga kaila nga nangamatay, niuban na sila sa mga bituon,” Karla added, while she and the other children in the barangay gathered around a bonfire. (We have lost some of our classmates while some of our neighbours remain missing. There were those who died but they now count among the stars).
They might have lost their properties and belongings but not even the strongest typhoon could break their spirit and hope that things will turn better. “Wala na ang among mga gamit pero buhi pa man mi, makapaningkamot gihapon para mabalik tanan,” Vilma, 42 said. She would not want any of the donated clothes anymore. “Gamay ra, duha lang ka buok akong gikuha kay unsaon man ng daghan kung managan na pud mi, mag dugang lang sa bug-at,” she quips. (I just got a few that I really need so it would not add up to our things that we have to bring during emergencies).
More than the canned goods, noodles and used clothings, survivors have expressed desire to build their homes in a safer area and are waiting for the local government unit to identify and provide space for them to rebuild their lives. This week, school re-opens and families have no other recourse but to put up make-shift tents around the school while their children go back to their normal routine. Families will be able to use the classrooms after school hours.
The New Year brings on another start. For typhoon survivors, it ushers in another chance to be grateful of the presence of their loved ones. “Gitagaan pa gyud mi ug laing adlaw para mabuhi, dili namo ni sayangon,” Karla said. (We were given another chance to live, we will not waste it).
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Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on January 08, 2013.