We’ve been quiet for a while, toiling away at plans for the future while building bridges with individuals, organizations and businesses who are down for the cause. It would be inaccurate to say that we knew exactly what we were doing when we set forth on this mission. We didn’t. We, like so many people who simply wanted to help, were somewhat clumsily navigating the process of participation while unsure of our long term goals.
When possible, throughout the process, we’ve taken a moment to reassess the situation on the ground and our strategy for involvement. We’ve reviewed our new wisdom – our mistakes, successes and the overall results of our experiences.
2 Months have passed since the Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines and while many things are changing constantly and various assistance is getting to the people, there are still, and will continue to be, many, many people who’s lives have been shattered and to whom recovery is still just an abstract concept. It’s easy to submit to our empathic side when images of destruction race across our TVs, but now, as the passing of time has quieted the voices of those affected by the storm, it is easier to forget.
The truth is that for some of the survivors, these 2 months since the storm have not brought signs of hope and renewal. For some, in the time that has passed there can only be a growing doubt that true help will ever arrive, and that their pleas for assistance have fallen on deaf ears, despite the resounding call for help they made to all of humanity the only way they could – by painting signs whatever remained saying ‘help us please’ and ‘we need food’ – like messages in the modern day bottles that international photojournalists have become.
We just passed the 4-year anniversary of the earthquake in Haiti and the UN reports that nearly 150k people are still living in temporary makeshift housing while renewed conflict in South Sudan, the Central African Republic and Syria have left countless thousands displaced, with no end in sight.
It can be debilitating to think about all those in need whose lives have been turned upside down, and to pressure ourselves to do with our time that which will make the greatest impact – but it can also be empowering if we learn to harness and, as the old adage goes, put one foot before the other… baby steps… the longest journey starts with a single step… two steps forward, one step back… … you get the point.
Our theme as we move forward is RESILIENCE.
We’ve considered all along that resilience would be fundamental to our long term rehabilitation plans in the Philippines, but now it has become abundantly clear the concept for resilience can be deployed broadly in all facets of our work. Resilience in when the task at hand seems to large and unwieldy for little-ole-us to lift. Resilience when the scope of humanitarian disasters currently happening across the globe seems incomprehensible. Resilience when all the work that went to drafting this or that plan gets scrapped for one of a million reasons and we find ourselves back to the drawing board.
Resilience in our solidarity with Filipino people around the world who want to help but don’t know how – and resilience in our mission to be prepared for the next disaster expand to other parts of the world already in need.
Together we can do this. Actually, thanks to everyone who has gotten involved, we already are.