Seeing Through New Eyes

A 6.6 liter of purified water brought me so much joy today. I had about one inch of water left in my water bottle and every little roadside stand we stopped at was all out. We had to wait over an hour for the bus in blazing sun and humidity to take us back to our hotel. The bus ride was packed like a can of sardines. Each stop more people got in and I felt grateful to have a window seat where my arm was hanging out the window and air blowing in my face.  I chewed gum and took small sips on my water bottle while watching people squeeze their way down the aisles pushing their children into others laps who were sitting down. When we arrived into town my first purchase was the large water bottle. Oh the comforts of life!!

I cannot imagine how it must have been here in Tacloban for days with no water, food or light of any kind other than sunlight. The only local mall is still a mess. It was heavily looted after the storm. The grocery store is open now and a few side stores but most of it is closed and being reconstructed.

Where would one begin with such a big project? One would have to see through new lenses to decide where to start. It is overwhelming to see so much that still needs done and it has been 6 months. There are organizations set up all over with tents that are here for months to help rebuild the city. We met a group today called HELP who are digging holes to make public toilets and setting up solar tents for people to stay in temporally.

We attended church in Dagami where 76 people found refuge from the storm and lived for 3 months. The building is on a hill so did not get much damage. They are still without electricity and plumbing but the building is in good shape. The members of the church and their neighbors have had new homes built for them and necessities donated by volunteers.

One of the families received a new home 10×12 on stilts, a few plastic chairs, two pigs to raise and a pedi-cab to use as an income. They have called Yolanda a blessing. One man said “the trial gives us strength”. Others said they have received more from volunteers than they’ve ever had before Yolanda. When things are difficult we dig deep inside ourselves and build muscle we didn’t know we had. Seeing the blessings from the storm and acknowledging it for what it is shows gratitude at its best.

While sitting in one family’s home on a chair a little mouse scurried across the floor. It was of no concern to them. Large cockroaches and lizards on the walls are an everyday way of life. What may bring a squeal from me at home in my kitchen is a communal agreement for them. They live with the wildlife freely.

My new appreciations have become a breeze to cool off my perspiring skin, a cold bottle of purified water, a toilet with tissue paper, a shower, soft bread rolls, and a bed with a pillow. I couldn’t ask for more. Every time I visit other countries I walk away with a new vision and appreciation for what I have and want.