Tag Archives: #haiyan

Juggling Family and Volunteer Activities

18 Nov

Between errands, my husband’s and kids’ events, and the URGENT, URGENT need to help Typhoon Yolanda’s victims, what’s a soccer mom to do?

Here’s how last weekend played out –

Saturday Morning. Early. Canon Photomarathon at BGC.

Accompanied hubby for the first time. We had the kids in tow. B1 was registered. B2 and I just tagged along.

Waited at a coffee shop for the opening program. Ordered a breakfast dish to feel worthy of seats. As B1 was playing with the iPad he said, egg. I automatically fed him some. I then made sure he realized he was so lucky. All he had to do was say egg and egg went to his mouth, while Typhoon Yolanda’s victims had gone hungry for days and still have to do with rationed relief goods. Don’t worry, this is not how it happens everyday. I made sure I lectured them about how lucky they were to be having another meal even before lunch.

We only stayed through the first challenge, which ended at 1 pm.

Saturday. Mid-afternoon. Memorial Park.

Visited the dear baby we lost to congenital heart disease.

Saturday. Late. Colleague’s celebratory BBQ.

At least late for moms like me who get sleepy when it’s the kids’ bedtime! The kids had a lot of energy and were running all over the place though.

Sunday. Morning. Cram homework.

Sunday. Noon-ish. Oplan Hatid prep.

This included dumping our kids at a classmate’s house so they could still attend their late afternoon soccer clinic.

Quick lunch with my side of the family. We gathered at our place where my brothers could dump their kids so we could all go to Oplan Hatid. Except for my youngest brother, who had been up with his web developer friends putting together a site to match volunteer options with needs. He got the enabler part of babysitter and command center manager, in case any of us got lost, etc.

Somewhere among the usual commotion of having all of us in one house, my mom cornered me by the pantry to admonish me about my weight and my hair.

Mom: You’re too thin. Don’t try to get any thinner.

Me: I’m not trying to get thinner. I’m trying to be more fit. *pointing to some flab* I need to tone up.

Mom: Whatever you’re doing or not doing, stop getting thinner. You need to go to the parlor.

Me: Yeah, I’m due for a haircut.

Sunday. Mid-afternoon – early evening. Oplan Hatid.

Went to Villamor Airbase – my parents, 2 brothers, 2 sisters-in-law, my hubby, and I. How many were going to St. Ives? We decided to buddy up by couple so that each car had a navigator.

Waited hours as evacuees got processed and matched to the drivers who were there ahead of us. Finally got Lola Berting’s family, whose story I still have not gotten to. But see, it’s way past my kids’ bedtime and I am too sleepy to write more. Drove her family to Muntinlupa.

Sunday. Late.

Again, late for me. Don’t I sound like fun?

Claimed our kids. Went home. Everyone from St. Ives was already there. Shared stories about our passengers.

It was a hectic, fulfilling weekend. Especially Sunday. Who cares that we didn’t have time to do our groceries and so tomorrow we have to squeeze it in after work?

Before leaving, my mom walks up to me again and says, make time. She still means my hair, of course.

Haiyan Oplan Hatid – a Driving Drive

17 Nov

Relief good drives are relatively common in the Philippines, what with the 20 or so typhoons that hit us every year. Last week, we got hit by the strongest storm on record that made landfall, Typhoon Haiyan, locally known as Yolanda. The devastation is so extensive that shipping relief goods out to the affected areas does not quite cut it. Troves need to be evacuated to Cebu and Manila as whole cities and towns, now erased from satellite images, will take time to rebuild.

This resulted in a new kind of drive – Oplan Hatid. Volunteers go to Villamor Air Base, where hundreds of evacuees arrive at a time via C130 planes. The volunteers then hatid (escort) the evacuees wherever they need to go. Hence, it is a driving drive. A kind of People Power, the call for drivers popularized through Facebook.

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How does it work?

When the evacuees arrive they are settled at the grandstand for a kind of decompression period. Ushers guide them to designated areas where food is distributed. They are given a chance to eat and then volunteer counselors chat with them. Volunteers find clothes that match their sizes. They are registered with the Department of Social Welfare and Development and then volunteer dispatchers take them through Oplan Hatid.

Each volunteer driver is given a number upon registration. A coordinator with a megaphone then announces the details of the next group who needs to be transported.”Group of 2 to going to Cavite.” The drivers interested in taking passengers to the announced area raise their numbers. The driver with the lowest number wins. The coordinator jovially calls this out, e.g. “#43, the lady with the white shirt and glasses, wins!”

My family got the privilege to drive Lola Berting’s family of 5 to Arandia, Muntinlupa. I’ll share their story in another post.

If you want to volunteer for Oplan Hatid, just show up at Villamor Airbase and tell the guard why you’re there. You’ll be given instructions on where to park and register.

You can also check out Rappler’s compilation of ways to help Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda’s victims.

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