August 10-11, 2012
So no MIT this week. It was cancelled because of the flooding this week, including (1) the relief that is going on still, and (2) the MIT trainees who are still affected by the flooding where they live. So, rightfully so I believe, we have postponed the training until next week.
Yet, I believe I got even better on the ground training this week through helping in the relief efforts. To date (writing this two weeks after the flooding), we have effectively served over 5,000 families, which is equivalent to about 30,000 people in over 30 communities. Many of these have been served twice, which lowers the amount of overall people served, but also allows us to have had more impact on those who had and continue to have the greatest need. Even now two weeks after the fact, we are still helping distribute packs of food and resources to those affected by the flooding. It has been a fun journey.
And a journey it has been. Over the last month I have personally been through a week of sickness and recovery from food poisoning in the province, a week-long missions trip with my sister, some of her friends, and three pastors from Iloilo, a week+ of flooding and relief, and now (again writing this two weeks after the flooding), a case of cellulitus on my arm that I am recovering from. Needless to say, it has been a journey. And yet one in which the Lord has taught me a great amount through.
I’ve learned that there is time for relief and time for development. How to discern how much time and resources should be put into the two is quite difficult, and yet must be thought through by every organization. In fact, I had the thought during the first week of flooding and relief work that I could spend the rest of my life providing relief in times of disaster or calamity around the world. There seems never to be a shortage of immediate response and aid with the number of both man-made (wars, terrorist attacks, personal acts of violence/slavery) and natural (earthquakes, droughts, floods, fires) disasters happening today. Then the number of people living in relocation or refugee sites as a result, where continual aid is needed until stability can be restored to these families and individuals. I read that in Manila alone, over 200,000 families were going to have to be relocated due to the floods, not to mention the hundreds of thousands if not millions that will have to regain stability in their current squatter or at-risk communities.
All that said, I now have experienced relief work from the inside (most of the time I’ve seen it from another part of the world through the television or newspaper), and recognize its importance. Yet, while we continue to give aid and immediate relief to these communities with MMP, we must also think about how we can help restore some level of stability to these families long term, and even help move them out of the poverty that plagues them every day.