Do Not Let Them Be Forgotten

Trip Start Jun 28, 2013
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Trip End Ongoing


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Flag of Philippines  , Eastern Visayas,
Monday, February 24, 2014

Hi Everyone,

This week was another great week in Cangumbang. The children's spirits continue to push me to be positive and do everything I can to rebuild the center and each of their lives. My first goal is to get the center back to where it was before the storm, but obviously my ultimate goal is so much more. Handfuls of Build-A-Home Projects, Thousands of meals with the children and their families, Dance and Music lessons, University Graduations, A New Chapel.....


The future of Cangumbang is endless, despite this tragic storm.

The kids enjoyed boiled sweet potato on Saturday and Fish on Sunday. On Sunday they even got to do a special art project with a friend who is working with an international group here in Tacloban. She was also adventurous enough to purchase 15 small water guns, the children were like wild animals chasing one another around the outskirts of the center squealing. It was perfect weather on Sunday for a water fight. So many smiles, so many giggles.

Today I had no work because of a local holiday so I started the morning early in Cangumbang, bringing the children bread for breakfast and picking up one of the sponsor child's mothers and her son to get a blood test at the hospital. Unfortunately, the type of test he needed is still unavailable so we will have to wait until one of the hospitals or clinics gains access to it. Afterward I spent some time talking with the children and enjoying the ability to sit and relax without some place to be. I must mention that the kids still run and jump and scream when I arrive, apparently I never get old. ;) It is the best welcome I believe I have ever had, a thousand times.

Before I went back to my office for lunch I went to Mohon Elementary School in Tanauan. I visited with the teachers and walked around the school grounds to document some of the changes to the school since I was last there in December. The kids are all back in school there, and slowly but surely they are repairing things.

I still find it deeply saddening to witness the destruction on the road from Palo to Tanauan..the mass graves, crushed homes, piles of coconut trees, homes with only tarps for a roof, cars in houses, and so much hidden destruction.

Later in the afternoon I visited SOS Children's Village, and internationally funded orphanage, where over 130 children reside. Listening to their survival stories amazed me, as the water rose some of the house mothers broke in to their attics, placing the children in the rafters to keep them out of the deathy storm surge, others fled to the top of a nearby hill and huddled together amidst the incredible winds and rain. Four of their homes were badly damaged, and when the water receded their complex had victims scattered across what used to be beautiful gardens. The children were evacuated three days after the storm, but they too, unfortunately, experienced the fear of going hungry and the devastation all around them.

There is still so much need here, so much devastation, yet I have this heartbreaking feeling that the world has forgotten. I would estimate that 75 percent of survivors still have no electricity and probably close to 40 or 50 percent are depending on relief goods for their day to day needs; though the electricity is slowly coming back, the relief goods are slowly disappearing.

The island of Leyte still has immense needs. Today I ask you to please spread the word about the tragic event that struck the Philippines nearly 4 months ago.

Share my blog.
Invite people to donate to the GoAbroad Foundation and support our ongoing recovery efforts (www.goabroad.org)
Remind someone that the event happened.
Start a discussion about the Media's recognition of the typhoon aftermath.
Express concern over the political issues that are still occurring over relief funding and distribution.
Tell someone about my work in the Philippines.

I ask you to do this not for selfish reasons, but for the sake of my Goddaughters, my host family that has become my second family, my coworkers who have lost family members, sponsored children who have lost homes, the mother that I used to buy vegetables from each day or the man that used to give me a ride to work everyday, the owners of my favorite restaurant, the teachers who are dealing with personal loss and the loss of their students, the director of the government run orphanage I have spent countless hours at, the nurses at the provincinal hospital with no supplies, the Mayor of Tacloban who is dealing with the biggest crisis in history, the father down the street from me trying to provide for his family, the village of Cangumbang and all of the wonderful people who reside there...


And every single individual that was effected by the storm throughout the country. They need you to help their voice be heard.

Thank you for all your continued support.


Elsa 
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Comments

Fernando M. Calo on

we had a similar case in our school (Mt. Carmel National High School), but what we initially do, each teacher will adopt a child by simply paying the school fees and other incidental expenses incurred by the student. Since we are 7 teachers in our school, we are able to "save" 7 students from dropping out from school. These kids are identified as at risk of dropping out from school. We had a hard time finding samaritan people to support these kids who has so much in store for them in the future if given the chance to pursue there dreams. How i wish we can increase the number of students to lessen the number of drop out students.

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