As Days Pass By

Trip Start Jun 28, 2013
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Trip End Ongoing


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Flag of Philippines  , Eastern Visayas,
Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Hello Everyone,

Four months have come and went yet the destruction is still apparent in certain areas, especially in San Jose, the first barangay outside the airport. It must be quite an astonishing start to any trip to Tacloban to see the worst his area, families still scattered amidst rubble in tents that are slowing becoming subpar as they are exposed to the sun and rain week after week.

However, just a few kilometers down the road and progress is equally clear. Downtown roads are cleared of debris and rubble, various shops are open, and most recently refugees living in and around the Tacloban City Convention Center (aka. the Astrodome) have been relocated to temporary housing away from the seaside area. The temporary bunkhouses are anything but ideal, but they have successfully taken people away from the seaside, at least those who accept the offer to reside in them. Despite costing more than a typical Build A Home Project, the row houses lack private bathroom and cooking facilities for each household. Some rows are made of up to 10 units, housing one family each, and yet they must all share a common bathroom (singular). Again they are anything but ideal, through it is safe to say the families will be safer there than they would be around the Astrodome if another typhoon came so we must consider it progress.

The rice fields in Cangumbang are officially planted and growing, though the hill tops still lack the hundreds of coconut trees that once created a jungle-like forest. Coconut farmers are surely at a loss moving forward, and rice farmers are still weary of the outcome of this years harvest due to occur in the next month or two.


Today was my final collaboration between Architecture for Humanity and a local Architect couple to solidify the architectural needs and repairs of the Evacuation Center in Cangumbang Post-Haiyan. We have all agreed what needs to be done, and it is now just a matter of organizing all the pieces of the puzzle...signing contracts, price estimating, purchasing of materials, selection of local laborers, demolition, reconstruction, and finally re-opening.


I am looking to the past to remind me of the beauty that awaits. That glorious day last August when the center was blessed and officially opened to the community. There were stars in the eyes of community members, and tears flowed freely as I reflected on all our hard work. Little did we know the impact the center would have on the community just 3 months later, and where we would be 4 months after that. At this time last year we were breaking ground on the center, digging the holes where the life-saving pillars now stand.


Once I again, I am overwhelmed by the love that has been poured out upon those affected by the storm. Below are just a handful of the amazing supporters that have contributed over the past few weeks to spreading the word!

The Kulcyzk Foundation contacted me and has decided to feature the Cangumbang Project in their fundraising for the Philippines, openly sharing the story of the community with Poland and the world. You can check out a video with clips from Cangumbang and their other current areas of focus here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MY9izg0mTbc

An incredible group of young students have developed a group called Hope For Haiyan, actively raising awareness of the needs of the Philippines. You can read their blog here: http://hopeforhaiyan.com/

Upcoming VFV Volunteer Michael Quinlan has made it his mission to not only help support VFV's efforts in the Philippines through volunteering, but also educate youth in the U.S. and fundraise almost $10,000 U.S. dollars to support VFV. You can watch his fundraising video here: http://www.crowdrise.com/usaandthephilippines/

The U.S. Office of my company gathered nearly 70 people in Colorado this weekend for a Bowling Event that raised over $2,000 dollars for the GoAbroad Foundation Philippines Rebuilding Efforts.

A Catholic Church in the U.S. raised funds to build two homes in Cangumbang thanks to the efforts of Teri Eagan, a long time family friend.

My dear friend (and first Filipina friend!) Christine Lalas will be representing the Philippines as Miss Philippines in the Queen of the Universe Pagent in California this coming March 16th. She has decided to choose the GoAbroad Foundation as her representing charity, and we couldn't be more honored. Like her facebook page here! https://www.facebook.com/lalaroxtine


 
Finally, to each and every individual, group, organization, business, and family. Thank you for every ounce of support you have given. Your love and generosity will affect the lives of survivors for many years to come. The difference you've made is bigger than you can imagine. Salamat!

Last but not least, please check out the GoAbroad Foundation Thank You Video here: http://youtu.be/RtxNQUhOwL4


Elsa


 
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