PSHF Bacolod Staff visited three areas in just one day last November 30 to deliver relief housing materials and donated clothes to PSHF clients affected by the typhoon.
During initial visits we were able to talk to the people and see the damage for ourselves. Most of the house roofings had been blown upward, torn away and crumpled by the wind. Furniture and clothes got wet during the typhoon; little boys wore girls’ clothes since most of their clothes could no longer be used.
Our clients belong to poor communities thus they cannot afford to buy housing materials; crumpled tin sheets have holes or damage. People are more concerned with what they are going to eat and drink. Fallen trees and electrical posts resulted in no electricity for weeks which meant difficulty in communicating with relatives in other places. Drinking water was also a problem because the wells and water pumps did not produce clean water as before.
The situation was reported back to us and as a result, housing materials and clothing distribution was planned. Another house to house assessment was conducted to check the needs and the materials were purchased. The Bacolod staff with special participation of Negros Oriental Coordinator, Hazel Mascuñana prepared the donated clothes and slept in the office the night before to leave early the next day.
First stop: TOBOSO
The PSHF relief team arrived in Toboso around 10am that Saturday morning and the people in Mabuhay were already there waiting to greet us. The nails were repacked into plastic bags and people signed for their allocated tin sheets and plywood. They were very thankful and had big smiles.
Nails were repacked into plastic bags while field worker, Lester Joy was calling the recipients and I was giving instructions to the PSHF husbands who volunteered to help unload and distribute the housing materials.
The children were requested to gather and given clothes that fit. Adults were also given some clothes. Previous field workers, Maribel and Edelyn who needs assistance to rebuild her house, were reunited with the PSHF field workers Lester Joy and Warlita.
We moved to the Punta Cruz area to distribute housing materials to clients who lived there. Then the team had lunch at the new Toboso market in a small eatery facing the beautiful sea.
Second stop: ESCALANTE
While preparing for the scheduled distribution, Warlita was able to communicate with her family in Escalante, the town between Toboso and Sagay. She was very concerned when her sister, Janet informed her that their mother’s house was damaged during the typhoon. So the team decided to deliver some housing materials to Warlita’s mother and give her time to be reunited with her family.
The road to their place was one way and the dirt path was a rough road. We had several anxious moments when other vehicles came towards us from the opposite direction and the wet sugarcane crops on the road made it harder to manage but we were thankful that our driver found a way through. It was more than five kilometers from the highway but it seemed very far. After a long bumpy ride, finally Warlita saw a familiar face along the road and went down to greet her aunt and her family members showed up.
Warlita with her Aunt, Aurelia. Nestor and Janet Layan, they received a loan just before the typhoon to reclaim a pawned lot and for their eggplant business. The redeemed lot from afar is ready for planting.
Warlita gave the small gifts she had brought for her mother and the men took care of the housing materials to be carried to her mother’s house because it was far from the road. She kissed them goodbye and we headed to the next area to distribute the remaining housing materials.
Third stop: SAGAY
The heat was getting hotter that afternoon and the team was very tired but when we reached Bulanon, Sagay everything changed. We were teary-eyed to see the PSHF clients waiting for us and they opened a hand-painted sack banner that wrote “DAG HANG SALAMAT” which meant “MANY THANKS” in English then they even said it in chorus. Our hearts were touched and all the tiredness from our journey was erased. These people have not received anything yet but they were already expressing their thanks. We immediately got down to greet them and asked how they were doing. Field worker, Lester Joy took charge of the distribution of housing materials with the men at the rear end of the truck while the rest of the team handed out the donated clothes from the front end of the truck to the women and children.
Since only a few people had come, they agreed to give clothes to other members the next day when they would meet for Sunday worship. We also gave out some snacks to the children and the adults as well. It was heartwarming to see the little children who came barefoot and eventually found a pair of rubber slippers to use amid the donated footwear. They were very happy and thankful for the clothes given and housing materials especially for the church building which is their major concern. After all the supplies were brought down, we took photos of each family and a group photo with the PSHF team. It was getting late and we finally had to head back with a feeling of joy and satisfaction as we said goodbye and they continued to express their thanks.
It was already dark upon reaching Bacolod City and we had dinner at Familya Grill, a small but famous eatery in Eroreco. We had a big dinner to reward the team for their hard work that day and to encourage them to be involved in future PSHF mission trips especially to give assistance to underprivileged but deserving families.
We look forward to coming back in the near future to assess other needy projects in Toboso,
Escalante and Sagay. We would also like to check on the improvements already made. It is our prayer that the small church in Bulanon, Sagay will have the roof attached soon and have it ready for Christmas worship. We expect to see developments when we come back to visit next month.
Lanie M. De Leon
30 November 2013