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Michael in the Philippines Update #24: My Work Here is Done
Approximately 720 families received our food aid today, adding the 210 from yesterday, that brings the total to 930 families, over 80,000 meals.
Being knocked out of action for the second time this trip, Andoi took charge and really led the attack. If you can imagine taking 58 large bags of rice and measuring them into about 4,500 smaller zip lock baggies, then packing 6 into a plastic shopping bag, you will get an idea of how much work this really took. Andoi "recruited" over two dozen of the LDS youth volunteers to help and we wouldn't have been able to do it without them. It took a full day yesterday to package, and a full day today to deliver and in the end they said "just seeing how happy the people were and hearing the thank yous made it all worth it, we would love to do it again". (We also treated them to a nice big dinner at a local restaurant that just opened called "andoks", sorta like a Philippine version of KFC. I don't think Andoi will ever know how proud and impressed I am of him, having no experience in disaster aid, he did absolutely everything right. "Your problems are my problems" he told me when he got back. I couldn't ask for a better partner here. I sure wish he could meet Mathieu or my friends helping in Japan, just a native countryman, thrown into the fire and stepped up big time. Andoi also thanked me for the opportunity, and I think he understands why I do these trips now, "we will both remember this experience for the rest of our lives" I told him. Something unimaginably rewarding happens when you forget about yourself and throw everything you have into helping others who really need it. It's addicting and I see it as the ultimate form of recreation as crazy as that might sound. Yes, I find disaster aid work to be very fun at times!
Something I learned about myself is that I really need to find a different speed besides "FULL". I'm like this with everything I really commit to, it's either "everything or nothing". I really do want to be the best I can be at everything I do, but going full board like I have for the last month in these conditions is just unwise. I have to learn to pace myself, take planned breaks, maybe as often as a day a week even if I don't really feel like I need it. It's just an extremely difficult thing to do when u see you are having an effect on those who desperately need it. I've been so sick the last two days that I felt like I was on my way out. Couldn't even think straight yesterday. Dehydration is nothing to play around with, but at least now I know what it feels like and how to treat it if I can't keep fluids down (IV).
It was an incredible honor to be here and serve the Philippino people. I've loved every second of it, I made many new friends that I'll remain close with for the rest of my life, and I also saw many old friends I had worked with before. To those of you who helped finance the food that was distributed the last 2 days, I can promise you there is no better way you could have spent that money. At $.33 per meal, you provided some of the most nutritionally & cost efficient food to a group of people who desperately needed it. Another thank you to Bob Poff for putting it together. It was a miracle to me to see this work from start to finish and I am so humbled to have been a part of it.
I'll have some more coming shortly, mainly from my 5diii, I also hope to put together a video explaining everything what we did here.
I think that my work here is finished, my plan is to rest up and fly to Manila on Sunday am (that's Saturday USA time). I'll be resting up for 2 days, just getting my energy back and then I'll be making my way back to Maui.
What a ride it has been!
Thank you so much to everyone for your continued support!
The Salvation Army and the LDS church have worked extremely well together here in Tacloban.
930 families received enough food to feed 5 family members for a week. I have better pictures taken on my 5diii that ill post when I get back. I absolutely hated not being there personally to see it, but so impressed and proud of the team for making it work without me.
The volunteers that prepped the food were Salvation Army workers and LDS church members, most of which were youth. They spent a full day prepping and another full day delivering. The food went to those regions near Tacloban that were not getting enough food. I met many of these people personally before I got sick, they were really hurting
This is how we packaged the servings, 108 meals per set. It took 35-40 volunteers a good day to prepare.
The hero of the last 2 days, Andoi! While I was knocked out with an IV Andoi stepped up and took charge. 80,000 meals delivered to 930 families! Keep on mind that one month ago he knew nothing about disaster aid work. Would have been a catastrophe without him. He is a stud!