A Year Has Passed And The Need Continues
Trip Start Aug 07, 2012
19Trip End Feb 07, 2013
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This blog is no longer about me and the daily life of me in the Philippines. Instead it is about Cangumbang, a rural village in the Philippines situated amongst a breadth of rice fields and mountains. A breathtaking landscape. Scattered about this area are homes built of dried palm, bamboo, and tin. Some families are lucky enough to have been part of the Build A Home project I worked on last fall, part of Volunteer for the Visayans Sponsorship Program. These lucky families have homes built on stilts over 5 feet tall, sturdy structures meant to last them many years. They have bathrooms, created with make shift septic tanks in an attempt to increase sanitation and healthy living in the area. Each year flood waters sweep across this beautifully placed community, bringing devastation, threatening the lives and livelihood of all its inhabitants. Some homes become completely submerged in the flood waters, leaving children and families swimming mercilessly to higher ground, yet higher ground rarely exists. Their belongings are most often swept away or destroyed by the murky water, filled with sewage and disease. Their health and safety is greatly threatened from these horrid conditions, they need a safe haven, they need hope.
When the director of Volunteer for the Visayans, the program I worked with twice over the past three years, shared with me a dream of his there was no turning back for me. I am determined to help this community, and help build them an evacuation center. The land has already been offered by a local family to Volunteer for the Visayans, to serve the community's great need. But the land comes at a cost, far too much for any one Filipino or one family to come up with. The materials to build the evacuation center will also be far to costly for the community to cover. However, for the people of country where homes require electricity, plumbing, and a roof at the very minimum...the amount needed to build the evacuation center is possible.
All in all it is estimated that evacuation center hoped to be built in Cangumbang will cost $20,000. The building would sit high above the flood waters (an estimated 10 feet off the ground), which reached approximately 5 feet in December. The evacuation center would serve as a multipurpose community center, as there is not a constant flood in the community. Community events as well as the Volunteer for the Visayans Sponsorship program of Cangumbang would have the opportunity to use the building for meetings and services. The evacuation center could serve as a health center, in this rural village travel to the nearest hospital must be done via motorcycle for extended periods. As you can imagine extreme illness cannot last in these conditions. Volunteer for the Visayans would utilize the evacuations center to hold feedings for the children and community members, hold educational meetings for children and adults, and carry out recreational activities for the community members. It is hoped that this center would even have the capabilities to house a few volunteers, those working on the Build A Home Project or helping with the daily feedings of the sponsored children.
What I believe to be the most obvious daily need in the community is a community restroom. equipped with the proper structural components, so that sanitation can rise dramatically in the entire area. Most community members are forced to go to the bathroom in the bushes, in the river, in plastic bags, or in make shift bathrooms where everything still ends up on the ground. May I remind you of the flood waters, sweeping across the flat land, bringing whatever is on the ground to 5 feet high. The flood waters are a toxic mix of belongings, feces, bodily fluids, and garbage. Building a bathroom in Cangumbang is a utter necessity, for the community's health and dignity.
$20,000 dollars. An amount far to much for one person to contribute. But if 1,000 people give a mere $20 dollars, then the evacuation center is complete. Most of us spend more than $20 dollars on eating out every week, or every month even. I am not asking you to continually contribute to this project every month, I am only asking for a one time donation. Most of all I am asking for your help in spreading the word about this great need. You may not be able to contribute, but there may be someone you know, a family member, a coworker, a friend, who you know has the capability to help.
I hope by reading this blog at the very least you feel more aware of a community that lives completely secluded from modern day America. A community living in conditions the majority of us will never come close to experiencing. Think about the children, the families. Reflect on your own childhood and daily life. Imagine how many people you can help.