It was a day like all days, and the night started like all nights, even though it was raining. Bonuses had been awarded and people were rushing to the malls to spend their hard-earned money. Christmas was just around the corner and people were happy! Then the nightmare of Typhoon Sendong changed it all in a matter of minutes.
In the midst of despair and heartbreak, we come across stories of hope and selfless giving. Let me tell you a few:
This time of the year, we always give Thank You gifts to those individuals and agencies who referred business to us, whether it was just for transportation or arranged package tours. One agency owner, Princess, related her Sendong experience:
She was asleep in her pad in Tibasak when her cellphone rang. It was her sister-in-law frantically calling for her to evacuate. Her brother’s family lived in the house up the street and noticed the water flowing towards the lower portion of the village. It was only when Princess moved to get out of bed, that she saw the water was already at bed-level. Since she lived by herself with only one helper, she scrambled to gather as much of her belongings… Wading in knee-deep water which was quickly rising to chest-level.. Bumping into furniture and trying to save everything in so little time.. Her brother was able to fetch her and her companion along with their valuables… But there was nothing she could do to save her pad.
Today, she was at work, greeting customers with a smile and not letting her predicament cast a shadow on her Christmas.
Everyday, we are presented with a choice — what color T-shirt to wear, what kind of food to eat, whether to be kind or to be grouchy. Typhoon Sendong hit Cagayan just when Christmas Holidays were starting, and children and teenagers were ‘starving’ for a vacation. And yet when the cries for help were made, these same youngsters trooped to their respective schools to volunteer themselves — as receivers, packers, deliverers and whatever job, small or big, there was that was needed… Sacrificing their vacation time for those who needed it more.