Michael in the Philippine’s Update #13: Sick!

I felt it coming for the last 4 days, & Finally crashed this morning. The Salvation Army usually has medical clinics, including a full team of doctors and nurses, one of the many reasons I love to work with them, if something happens they can take care of you.

I was really upset I missed the 2 distributions today as I was resting trying to recover, very proud of Andoi who stepped up and was able to get the coupons filled out (200+ of them) on his own at the second location. We have a really good system of same day deliveries and have most of our logistics worked out. Should be pretty straight forward for the local SA leadership to run it smoothly.

Come 7pm, I was completely dehydrated and couldn’t keep any fluids or food down. Craig talked to Demarius, the SA lead and she sent the doctors right over. So thankful to all of them.

Andoi thinks I accidentally drank some of the well water we use for bucket baths. The doctors gave me 3 different kinds of medications and an IV, and I’m already starting to feel better.

I’m going to try to rest tomorrow and get better by Sunday, where we have some island assessments lined up. The plan is NOT to travel by boat. Came down with something been in bed all day and was completely dehydrated. The good news is Andoi knows enough about tagging now that he took over for me today and the team delivered 60,000 meals to 2 villages we found the other day. I hate missing distributions, but we all work great together and have an established system. When I didn’t get better in the afternoon,Craig notified the Salvation Army team of doctors and nurses here, and they came over tonight and took care of me. I should be ok soon.How lucky am I that Andoi is also a nurse! He’s been a great help with the IV.

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Michael in the Philippine’s Update #12

So completely exhausted. I fell asleep twice today because I physically could not stay awake. Yesterday’s deliveries wiped me out. Trying to get to bed early now as we have a busy day tomorrow. We were scouting most of the day, and found a good pocket of 5,000 people in the city who weren’t getting enough food. It’s a real balancing act because everyone needs aid still, it’s just that some have more than others and we have to focus on those who have the least. Craig is leaving on Monday, and there is a rumor that the government will suspend food deliveries on the 2nd of Dec, which if true will create some real problems as most of the city seems to BR dependent on aid in some form. Evacuations have ceased, and children are also supposed to go back to school on the 2nd.

I’m going to have to cut it short tonight for the sake if rest, but just want to say how thankful I am for life, health, friendships and the amazing opportunities I’ve been blessed with. There isn’t anywhere else in the world where I’d rather be right now.With Andoi and the Bishop of the Tacloban ward. They have picked up on my “Shaka”.This woman in pink is my new friend Army. She washes my clothes, makes my meals and cleans my room everyday so I don’t have to worry about those things. Allows me to focus on work. Grateful to her!!

Michael in the Philippine’s Update #11: In Full Swing

What an incredible day. Long story short we had 3 distributions with our Salvation Army partners, about 200,000 meals given to 6,500 families, including the 2,000 we found yesterday.

We started with a big distribution in Tacloban, which started getting a little tense at times. Philippinos are just too nice to riot or cause problems, but we still have to maintain order and process.

The problem was that we wanted to deliver to the 2,000 we found yesterday, and in order to do that, everyone receiving aid has to sign up for a ration card. The process usually takes a full day. We also had to make a gas run (were we buy as much gas as we can for everyone at the church) in between there somewhere.

So after the first distribution, we hustled to get the gas, and immediately headed out to those 2 small towns that needed distributions, had all 600 families individually sign up, while in the mean time Craig and co filled up the truck for the distribution, and sent it off to us, just in the general direction of where we were.

Halfway through filling the cards, I was able to get the driver on the sat phone and guide him in to our location. In the whole supply chain there were about 15 people involved and we barely had enough to get it done, lots of happy people tonight. I think the guy who came through big today was a Filipino Salvation Army worker named Joey, who was able to get everyone signed up in such a short time and then was brave enough to pull the trigger on getting the green light to send the truck without knowing for sure if we would finish. Craig also deserves major props for loading the truck with only 6 guys (600 bags at 45lbs each, enough to almost kill you). It was a very, very rewarding day.

There was one point that I found myself surrounded by children, smiling and laughing despite the terrible circumstances they were in and I found myself filled with compassion for them. I’ve always enjoyed helping and serving, but it felt different today…like, i truly loved them and I would do anything I could to help them. I’m not even sure how to explain it. It’s times like today, that despite being overwhelmingly exhausted, you find meaning and happiness in throwing everything you have into service. Maybe in a way it is a little selfish because the rewards are inexplicable and I feel my efforts have significance and meaning. Feeling very, very humbled to be part of such a great team, to be right where I am in the opportunity I have. Today we distributed about 200,000 meals to 6,500 people, including the 2,000 we found yesterday, some of which appear here in this picture. We were hustling all day to make it happen. Thanks to everyone who has supported or donated!This was at our third distribution today. So completely exhausted, but so excited!Love these new friends!