September 26, 2012, Saturday- A very remarkable incident to the people of the Philippines, especially those people who were affected by the typhoon Ondoy. Metro Manila was devastated and left thousands of people homeless and famished. There were places submerged for days and the houses were inundated until the second floor. A lot of people died and a lot of people were at loss. Some of my friends were also affected; some were stranded for hours on their way home, some were waiting to be rescued on the roof of their houses feeling cold without food, and some spent the night at school.
The days after this incident occurred, showed my first impetuous act. It was an hour before midnight and I was online waiting for updates regarding the suspension of classes, since our school is a flood- prone area. While online, my friend Cecilia asked me if I wanted to volunteer and help pack some relief goods at Philippine National Red Cross (she was invited by one of my classmates, Sam so she invited me too). It was a spontaneous decision for both Cecilia and I because we never really intended to volunteer. We were bothered by our conscience that instead of waiting and doing nothing, we wanted to help.
In that time of the night, it was really dangerous because of the bad elements lurking in the streets of Sampaloc, Metro
Manila, but despite the danger, we continued our plan. At midnight, we arrived at Philippine National Red Cross, which is near Intramuros, and we were greeted by the sight of volunteers who were already packing relief goods. My classmate Sam was already there helping and she guided us to the office to fill out our volunteer forms. After filling it out, we went back to the hall where the people were packing, and we started helping them out.
An estimated one kilo of rice, three canned goods and three packs of noodles. It is the contents of a single bag to be given out to the people who were affected by the typhoon and who were staying in the evacuation centers. It was a great experience for us to be able to take part on this kind of situation as well as meeting new people who also aims to give something to those who are in need.
The day after our first volunteer, Sam asked us (since she is the one who has a connection in PNRC) if we could volunteer again the next day since they are in need of people who are willing to take phone calls from the persons who are asking for assistance and we agreed. We were assigned to be on the night shift so we arrived nearly midnight. It wasn’t as hard as we thought, since there were only few people calling, but the grave part was how to kill the sleepiness in our eyes during sleeping hours.
The usual calls we received were those people who were looking for their relatives and loved ones. There were also people asking for help and assistance in certain places which were still submerged by flood. There was a time when we received a phone call from a woman who is living in the US and she was asking about her family whom she cannot contact at the moment. She was so worried that she asked us a favor to check on them. It was heart breaking.
After our night shift, they were asking us if we wanted to participate in the delivery of the relief goods to Marikina and since, we were so exhausted and we all wanted to go home, we refused the offer. I know it will be another great experience but we were so tired. All we wanted to do was sleep.
While on our way home, I imagined the people worrying about their families and relatives affected, the people who were still on the roof of their houses waiting to be rescued, the people who were in the cold without food, the people who lost everything and those people who were in the evacuation centers and I realized, I’m lucky. Just have faith.