12 August 2012

calamity has a face.

Photo courtesy of YahooPH news.

It didn't have a name, it was just called "habagat" or "monsoon", which to me hit us like a basher on Twitter with just the default egg as a profile picture would hit you with insults.


Sometimes, it is easy to be detached from the numbers and statistics reported in the news.

60+ CASUALTIES
1,000 PER EVACUATION CENTER
3 DAYS WITHOUT RELIEF
6 FEET HIGH FLOODS
2,000,000 DISPLACED

But calamity does have a face. And it all becomes more real than just numbers when it has a face.

Aside from the tragic stories that make us feel bad or sad or helpless, there are also promising, inspiring stories that have the power to give hope.


Christian: ka-cute na bata, bibo na, smart pa!

Meet Christian. An 11-year old 6th grader from Taguig. He and his whole family was displaced by the floods, living in an evacuation center for around a week now. He remains cheerful and energetic despite the dreary conditions he has to deal with. Supporting the project of ate Pia Cayetano to set up mother and child friendly areas in evacuation centers (also to keep the kids entertained imbis na mag-swimming sila sa baha!), I went along to a series of storytelling sessions to show the children their new play area.

An idea you can do in a center near you: Mother-and-child friendly play areas
where kids can read and play and moms can breastfeed their babies.

Christian was like an eager beaver who kept on volunteering and knew many of the answers to our questions. 

ME:
Christian, top one ka ba sa klase mo?
CHRISTIAN: 
(scratches his head) Opo.
ME:
Wow, good job!
(insert high five here)
ME:
Ano gusto mo maging paglaki mo?
CHRISTIAN: 
Chef po.
ME:
Chef? 
CHRISTIAN: 
(with a big smile) Opo.

ME:
(thinking this in my head) This is the first time I've heard a boy say he wants to be a chef. If not the usual doctor or lawyer, its engineer or artista (seriously), or even pulis at bumbero. But chef? Kakaibang aspiration, kakaibang point of view. May future tong batang to.

ME:
Gusto ko paglaki mo may restaurant kang sarili mo ah!
CHRISTIAN:
Oo ba!

Christian is just one kid in a center with hundreds of kids. One center in a barangay with over 50 centers. One barangay in a city with over a hundred barangays. One city out of so many cities affected by the floods.

Do you want Christian to have a better future? Are you rooting for him to reach his dreams of becoming a chef?

Kayang kaya mong tumulong sa pangarap ni Christian, o sa pangarap ng napakarami pang batang Pinoy. Not just now that we're hit by this tragic flood, but beyond that. Whether it be to aid them in this time of emergency, or beyond, whether it be in terms of education, health, sanitation, the fight against violence.

So remember Christian, and the hundreds of thousands like him. These are the faces we see in calamities, and they're faces of HOPE.

When calamity has a face, its kind of hard to turn your back on what you know you can do to make things better.


11 comments:

minaku_aino said...

It was really devastating but it was at the same time heartwarming to see so much people helping, "bayanihan, walang iwanan" kind of culture... But we can do better than this. Prevention is better than cure so the cliche goes. But really, we have to do just that. Better urban planning, sewerages, waste management, to say a few... It will take a lot of effort but with determination, cooperation and discipline, kakayanin ni Juan 'to. ;-)

Anonymous said...

Gwapo si Christian. Bibo nga xa tingnan face palang nya. Ang gwapo ng Chef na to paglaki nya! Sana makita nya blog mo Bianca : )

And yes, tama ka sa lahat ng sinabi mo. Minsan napapareact tayo sa numbers na nirereveal nila sa news until we get tired of it kasi nga parating news about the calamity nlng lagi but I know hindi xa ganun ka simple tlaga Mahirap ang mga pinagdadaanan nila tlaga. If I could just give out my help ginawa ko na. I don't have plenty of cash since I am still starting my life as a career woman. So all I can do now is Pray for them. God is with them that's why they're still here.

-Maria

KULAPITOT said...

pinoy spirit is water proof ika nga nila :)

Goku shrestha said...

its sad to see all this . hope everything will turn out for good .

karissa said...

This is really inspiring!heart-moving :)

Juicy Jay said...

You just had a priceless conversation to a cheerful boy who despite his situation still manages to smile and be happy with the world.

Change begins from us, it should be unleashed from within. I believe we can still be a better nation. And Yes, it is time to act now to share what we have and prepare the youths how to face their "tomorrows" with a positive resolve and resilient spirit.

I'm a fan Bianca ever since I almost meet you in SM Soutmall, way back I guess last 2004 or 2005 I'm not sure of the year. That's when you've hosted the Octoberfest there.

Angelo Espanol said...

I hope everyone will sooner or later get their life back again... With someone like you and christian, I'm sure filipinos will.

kim buenafe said...

very insightful post! random individuals have risen to give even the slightest bit of hope to flood victims. it's really heartwarming to learn of random acts of kindness from people of different walks of life. a boy such as christian also gives hope to all calamity-stricken people to continue dreaming and working on that dream.

kim buenafe said...

very insightful post! heartwarming story :)

Tin Dacallos said...

touching post, miss bianca. my heart really gets soft when it comes to stories like this, especially when it is all about kids! :)

Virkky Mums said...

one of the best qualities ng pinoy. :) nice insights btw. :) now following you...