Inspired Words

These are the experiences of our volunteers in Phillipines.

January 24: Typhoon Haiyan Rebuilding Update #5

Posted in Phillipines on January 27, 2014

An update from Grant Iverson, a local Kamloops resident and past Developing World Connections participant. Grant is in the Philippines assisting with Typhoon Haiyan relief and rebuilding efforts in northern Cebu province with our Host Partner, Rise Above Foundation Cebu

A belated Happy News Years to all of my friends and family!

It has now been 1 month since my last update, and I apologize for not getting one out sooner but it has been quite a busy month so far. After taking a week off between Christmas and New Years, I headed back up to Tabogon on January 2nd. I stayed there for 10 days organizing the rebuilding of homes and distributing goods to the locals.

I came back to Cebu for 5 days as I was invited to play in a local golf tournament. I headed back to Tabogon on Sunday, January 19th and stayed there for 5 more days getting updates on all the homes we were building. By this time, all of Mike’s 15 homes have been completed and we have 15 homes at some stage of construction. In fact, 5 of those additional 15 homes are 100% completed and the families have already moved in. One of the families that have transferred is Sheila-Mae’s family - the blind girl mentioned in earlier posts. To see her in her new place was extremely heart-warming to say the least!

I head back up to Tabogon tomorrow for 4-5 days with the goal to ensure the remaining 12 homes of our original 15 are fully completed and the families get transferred. Also, we have identified the next 10 families to get a home built. When I left on Thursday, most of the materials were delivered to the sites so I will check on these 10 as well to see how much progress has been made.

As we are getting close to spending all of the funds that has been allocated for home building, we will now start only identifying 5 families at a time to ensure we do not make a commitment we cannot keep.

In addition to home building, we have also been busy distributing GI sheets (roofing) and nails to families that lost their roofs, but the structure was still basically intact, as well as giving out more relief packs to families who are struggling against starvation and handing out blankets and pillows to the elderly. Hopefully, we've also shared a little bit of hope that things will continue to get better.

None of this would be possible without the generous support of Sally, our gracious host & translator; Wilma, our main coordinator in Tabogon; Mike and Bee Smith who continually find a way of getting funding for such things as a new well for Camoboan Elementary School and a new roof on one of the school buildings in San Vicente; Sue Adlington, a British “bird” who purchased an unbelievable amount of supplies for the families and treats for the children; Ron, whom I have not even met for contributing 500,000 Pesos towards home building; and of course, the Rise Above Foundation and Developing World Connections.

We did take an evening off while I was there and put on a karaoke competition for some of the locals and Sally’s employees. Let me tell you, these Filipinos can sing! There was around 100 people there and a good time was had by all. Great food, great company, great entertainment! Just what the doctor ordered to get people’s minds off the tragedy, if only for one night. A big thank you to Sally for sponsoring it. And of course to no one’s surprise, Sheila-Mae took first prize.

One more thing (don’t tell my sister) I bought a motorbike and when I am in Cebu, I have enjoyed going on rides around the area including one trip into the mountains. I also rent a bike when I am in Tabogon so I can get around the hills and the very poor roads up there. It is somewhat treacherous, but I go slow and manage okay.

Well as I said, I head up again tomorrow and will provide another update in hopefully 2 weeks.

Take care!

Grant Iverson
DWC Volunteer

Donate Now