in the gutters

Rainy days used to be something I look forward to on weekends, but it has been raining like forever since December.  Water was leaking into my supposedly watertight shoes, dripping through the stitching of my umbrella and soaking my shirt under the heavy jacket which was already supersaturated with rain water.  I miss the sunshine.

Apparently, nobody can afford to wait forever, especially if it involves fun.  It sure feels good to forget about everything else but the current moment.  The adults can take care of themselves anyway.

Playing with another is better than playing alone, and this game doesn’t need to have a loser.  Our politicians have a lot to learn about cooperative play.  It’s more fun this way.

While some people feel the rain, others just don’t want to get wet.

A literal definition of chilling out (in the cold windy rain).

While the government has been dragging its feet on providing housing/shelter for those who have to relocate to a safer areas, people are madly rushing to rebuild their homes to put a roof over their heads.  Rusty nails can be hammered straight and reused, unlike politicians, useless even if new.

Sheets of torn galvanized iron roofing materials are headed for the scrapyard.  The injuries caused by these flying guillotines are innumerable.

This is the best seat in the house.

The Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation is probably the most recognized group, with due respect to all other foreign aid organizations.  They provided cash for work programs, prepared hot meals for the community, gave financial aid to the locals and pump primed the local economy through the money given to the affected families.  The streets would most probably still be littered with debris if not for their mobilization of dump trucks and the local communities in clearing up their neighborhood.  Now they are doing school rehabilitation.  Thank you, Tzu Chi.  Thank you also to all foreign aid organizations and volunteers.

Life sprouts in the gutters.   This is where we are now, 2 months later.

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21 thoughts on “in the gutters

  1. Kamusta ka? I feel with the people of Tacloban (and elswhere in the Philippines; as a seafarer I have many a friend there). And I truly appreciate your effort to report on the local situation. We need more people like you, and more people can make more noise. Deep in my heart, I believe, that just like the little plant in the gutter, that the people in the stricken areas will live life just as beautifully. Keep on giving a voice to them.

    • I’m doing ok, thank you. It’s a big lifestyle adjustment but we’re coping. The Filipino’s resilience is what’s keeping us afloat, that we’re striving, with or without government help. The only negative to this trait is that most people, while moving on, have already accepted the government’s lack of action and will not bother to raise issues.

  2. The tragedy remains our topic last noche buena and my kuya, a PAGASA employee, narrated about the fate of Salvacion, his co-employee who was assigned there at the Tacloban station. How the building was flushed by the surged and how she went back to the room to get something..but that would be the end of her.(The death which led to Ted Failon’s “mouthwashing” by the public.) I had been to the PAGASA station twice in ’09 and ’10. The place — just across the airport — is surrounded by waters.Like so many, her body was never to be found.

    And then we reached the topic of Tacloban rehabilitation, etc. We have our fingers crossed on Ping Lacson on this one.

    Awesome story. Mabuhay kayong lahat diyan.

  3. Again your use of black & white to tell your story. This environment sorely lacks natural colr, with the overcast skies and constant rain. Good job of keeping us up to date Orlando.

    • Thank you, Bob. This is but a small section of Tacloban. There are other places in much worse condition which I haven’t been able to visit; car broke down again, this time needing a major repair.

  4. Heartbreaking images as ever. I have been angered so much by the national politicians playing the “blame someone else” game while people suffer, they should be ashamed. Rody Duterte was a rare jewel – he provided action to his fellow brothers and sisters instead of empty words. I hope the sun comes back into your lives soon.

  5. excellent set once again, touching, sad, a bit of humor helped. if we waited for the politicians, we would still be in the gutters or “below waters”
    .. thanks to the reselliency and resourcefulness of our people, they at least tried to survive. recycling debris became a
    must and a norm :(:( I echo your thanks to the local, international aid that came that way to help. the last frame says a lot, there is still life sprouting in the gutters. thank you once again.

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