Today I was a guest on the local Tacloban Humanitarian radio show Radyo Abante.
My interview started with them making fun of me for being a Filipino that wasn’t fluent in tagalog or waray waray. Gotta love that Filipino humor grin emoticon
Afterwards I summarized what Humanitarian Affairs UK was all about and then gave my thoughts on some of the issues concerning Tacloban and the presence of NGO’s.
In particular, I emphasized the need for NGO’s to support livelihood as opposed to just providing basic necessities. Filipinos are human as well and are subject to shame and guilt from having to be reliant on others. We expect to be industrious and productive. So it is imperative the NGO’s implement strategies that provide locals with employment, support the necessary programs for recreation, health and education, and stimulate local business.
All in all, it was a fun morning.
Afterwards, I spent the afternoon with Tita Gay touring the memorials to the victims of Typhoon Yolanda. In particular, she introduced me to her friend, Tita Belen, who had family members that were lost in the tragedy. It gave more context to the memorials because she was able to show us actual burial sites and her story was absolutely horrifying when she explained how there were dead bodies on the power lines, how she couldn’t land on Tacloban for 4 days because the airport was full, etc.
Yet despite the misery, she was able to overcome the challenges and brought supplies to her family from all the way from London. She eventually had her family taken back to Cebu.
Her story is also not without a demonstration of her generosity. She sheltered other families during the typhoon in her house and did everything she could to return with more supplies. My favorite part of her story was how she miraculously found a full propane tank in the house and was one of the lucky few people who was able to cook and boil water for her fellow survivors.
I didn’t stay late this night. I had a bit of a sore throat so I slept early to be ready for the next big day.