Typhoon Yolanda was a tragic and devastating act of nature. To say that this disaster was anything less than hell on earth is an understatement. The Philippines and the world are hurting and we want someone to blame. We can blame the chaos unfolding on global warming, or the poverty in the Philippines, or poor disaster management; but this is just talk. This is critical analysis and this is numbers. When we are finished talking, the victims have less water, less food and less hope.
Here in Cebu Filipinos are not talking, they are mobilizing. Hundreds of volunteers are organizing and distributing donations to the affected areas. Surges of more people who want to help are spilling out of the Department of Social Welfare and Development Offices. Instead of turning their hurt into blame and useless criticisms, they are turning their hurt into action and service. Yesterday I worked side by side with Filipinos who were frantically packing donations. The helplessness I felt watching the news just a few hours earlier, turned into hopefulness and purpose.
For many Peace Corps volunteers we have struggled to find meaning and purpose behind our work here. We are often frustrated with the cultural differences, complex populations and financial restrictions. Yolanda changed that. Our purpose is clear. So let’s not talk, let’s move.
(For those who want to donate from abroad try the Red Cross or the World Food Programme.)