The resilient Pinoy spirit, in a highland community hard hit by the Typhoon. These villages scattered up the sides of mountains were hard to access before the typhoon, known only to local climbers who use this route to access a sacred mountain. Now access is easily a class 3 scramble, and there’s no electricity, no water, crops destroyed, and no aid.
We literally haven’t seen one aid vehicle here, only small food parcels with white rice and a few canned meats from the municipal office some 8km away, accessibly only to those with transportation (read: a motorbike ride over mountains, through fallen trees, across rivers with damaged/unusable bridges, and in some cases downed power lines are lying across the rivers, and then a hike up a mountain to what remains of their homes). Some homes have been completely flattened; others (including the local school) destroyed by fallen trees that look like their were twisted like a corkscrew, or plucked up their roots and strewn everywhere.
Last night we held a meeting with 3 small villages in this area to see what they thought of our permaculture ideas for the area. Our ideas were met with a resounding “YES!”. Tomorrow morning, we begin clearing the site of a destroyed no-frills eco-lodge used by climbers, side-by-side with the community that is so keen to transform to be able to thrive in harmony with nature one again.
This morning we took a girl of 2 or 3 to hospital with what we suspected was typhoid. When her mother told us she has been unconscious for the better part of the week, we packed her and the rest of the family in the van and took them to hospital. This sickness had come on only since their house was flattened by the storm. The mom had been afraid of the cost of taking her daughter to hospital; she didn’t even have the 50 pesos for transportation there, and she had never heard of PhilHealth, the national opt-in healthcare service. We asked the doctor to also check out the mom’s chronic cough. The equivalent of $20 got both mother and child medication and vitamin supplements. The child regained consciousness once we got her to the hospital, and although it took quite a while to find a viable vein for IV antibiotics and rehydration fluids, it looks like the little one has decided to stay. We’re thankful for all the small miracles that in reality are quite huge.