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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!