MLAC Institute for the Pablo Relief
Hannah M. Morillo
As the first activity of 2013, last 8-9 January, the MLAC Team went to New Bataan, Compostela Valley to start the psychosocial response and initial steps of long-term program for the survivors of the Typhoon Pablo (Bopha). Through the efforts of ABS-CBN Sagip Kapamilya, the Team was ushered to municipality of New Bataan, where psychosocial intervention has not been been given. The devastation of Typhoon Pablo was still physically visible, as well as imprints of the experiences it has left the people of Compostela Valley.
Some of the logs that were carried by the raging water and mud.
Having experienced the typhoon literally for the first time, the barangay consituents of New Bataan are currently housed in a “Tent City” where the makeshift community continues to thrive and live on a daily basis — children struggle to continue with their schooling, and parents find ways to augment their daily needs for food and everyday expenses.
Part of the “Tent City” where the people of New Bataan currently reside.
According to the children, it is difficult for them to play here because of the mud.
The MLAC Team is deeply honored to have provided the psychosocial intervention of the children (children from 6 years old up to 17-year-old adolescents) of New Bataan, where they were equally engaged with the process through sincere and honest sharing. The program started with ice breakers, after the children and the Team had partaken of simple lunch. Then, through arts and expression, each was given the opportunity to retell and depict the rich experiences they went through individually, and as a community. After this, the faces of the children lit up when they were given ample time for play. They were all immersed in dramatic and pretend play, as there were also avenues for singing and dancing for the other groups.
The children were divided into smaller groups so that we can each listen to their experiences.
Expressing her story through arts.
The Team feels a solidarity with the children, as they have entrusted a precious part of themselves through this first step of intervention. This beautiful and humbling experience made the Team witnesses to the unwavering faith and innate hopefulness that build the resilience of the children in the community. Indeed, their wisdom was manifested through the acceptance of their situation and the openness and determination to rise above what has happened to them. Through it all, the immense gratitude for being able to live a “second life” was what shone through for the children who experienced the insurmountable calamity. In the end, the inspiring reflections made the Team more aware of how by giving, the children of Compostela Valley have blessed and given us with so much more.
Play time definitely brought a smile on their faces!