I will never forget November 8th, 2013. It was a day that, quite literally, shook our worlds.
Ten months have passed since then, but the horror still runs in my veins. Haiyan (Yolanda) has become a nightmare that frequently visits me, even in my waking hours.
I remember how the mother hen in me gathered her three small, shivering, chicks under her protective wings, to keep them safe and warm, despite her own fears and worries, when the strong fierce winds mercilessly battered our house.
When the wind retreated and the heavy rain turned into a soft drizzle, as if nothing happened, I went up on our roof. My heart was still pounding. My knees turned to jelly and I almost fell when I saw the destruction.
All around, buildings were roofless, including the homes of my neighbours and the local Catholic Church. Trees, fences, and electric posts had fallen. The whole neighbourhood stood naked and unfamiliar before me. Despite the small amount of damage to our house, I felt helpless
Days passed slowly, and people became increasingly desperate. It was a good thing that help came early.
I learned from our neighbours that GOAL had come to help and were based in our town of Jaro, on Leyte Island. I wanted to help in my own little way, and at the same time earn some money for bread, so I signed myself on to GOAL’s local staff as a community worker.
"Our coconut livelihood was almost gone, and people became restless and hopeless."
Working for GOAL enlightened me to the extent of Haiyan’s damage in our locality. Our coconut livelihood was almost gone, and people became restless and hopeless.
I had first-hand experience of dealing with desperate beneficiaries as my work brought me to all the barangays (communities) in our town. We distributed rice, mosquito nets, blankets, buckets and shelter kits to over 45,000 people. I was touched by the situation of people living below the poverty line.
My time with GOAL has made me stop moaning and complaining about material things that I cannot have. Instead, I count my blessings.
- Arlyn Morfe, GOAL Philippines Community Mobiliser