I’ve been actively involved in volunteer work with a group (particularly an impoverished place in Quezon City) since Ondoy hit in 2009 and I’ve been itching to do something for the victims of the recent flood, but living far from the city at the moment, I couldn’t immediately help out as I had before. So when the social center where I work now proposed a plan of action, I was more than eager to participate.
We were initially going to Manila to give more help, but then we heard of a venue nearer to us that was still flooded and needed aid as well, so we chose to go there.
We first went to a shelter to pack some cooked food and relief goods, and allotted them to the families there. Then we went by boat to go to the areas where the flood water is still high— up to their waists and have entered into their homes— to give to the residents who had remained, whether by choice (to protect their belongings from looters) or not (having nowhere else to go).
Experiences like these are always so powerful to me, especially this one. Besides giving out rations, I like to talk to the people as much as I can, listen to their stories, and it always has such an impact. Imagine these people have lost so much, yet they still remain hopeful, keeping up their smiles, even still helping others with what little they can give, and showing their genuine appreciation when they themselves receive relief. One family, in thanks, even gave us a bag of clams they could have kept for themselves.
We can always learn from involvements as these, to be reminded of humility, gratitude, and forgetting ourselves to be of service to others.