Philippines Dec. 15: Days 4-6

Day Four
By Brett Madron

Part of having a community center is knowing the needs of the neighborhood in which the center exists.  Today, we met with the principal of the elementary school in the area to see how we might partner with them to host an after school program for their students.  The school, home to 800 students that sit it classes with a ratio of 40 students to 1 teacher, has never been approached by another organization about assistance regarding academics.  "Different NGOs ask us about helping with our athletics or helping do renovations, but never with assistance in academics," said the principal eager about the opportunity.  We will be working with them over the next week to lay out a practical plan of action. 

Due to the generosity of our supporters, we were able to purchase a ministry vehicle for use on the ground here in Tacloban.  Jason and Jovic traveled to the neighboring island of Cebu to purchase the vehicle and spend some quality time with our long-time ministry friends, Jaime and Lily Balista.  The vehicle will be of use for a variety of ministry related needs, not least as a means of transport for programs at the community center.  

We also welcomed our friend Jackie Perez to Tacloban today to spend the next few days with us.  Currently, we are assisting Jackie to complete a degree in midwifery.  Upon completing her degree in March, Jackie is planning to move to the Tacloban area and work alongside our ministry as she also interns at Cumpio Midwife Clinic where Rina currently works two days a week.  

Another full day!

Day 5 & 6
By Jason Carpenter 
Brett and I explored an abandoned college on the eastern coast of Leyte yesterday.  It was abandoned following the tragedy of Typhoon Haiyan due to the immense loss of life among the student body in the building.   This building is one of countless reminders that the people of Tacloban encounter everyday.

We are continuing to learn the psycho-social effects of such a traumatizing event through our conversations with people like David Pica, a long time friend who has worked for NGOs in the Tacloban area since Yolanda.  In the aftermath of such a devastating natural disaster there is great need for a response from the international community to provide the emergency relief necessary to help people recover.  David described the utter chaos that followed the typhoon,  walking around the streets of Tacloban trying to find food and water.  There was no order, no law and people looked like Zombies, aimlessly wandering the streets overwhelmed by the loss of life.  David said that without the help of international aid organizations the chaos following the storm would have destroyed what was left of Tacloban society.  Like the abandoned college, the trauma that the people have yet to overcome is a constant reminder that a long-term development effort is needed.