“..It’s three o’clock in the morning and it’s starting to get light . . “
Don’t get me wrong. I said “grudgingly” not because I am angry or anything, but rather, disappointed I had to leave Villamor earlier than I had anticipated. In one of those clean up and wash runs for the kitchen, my right index finger got hurt and I can’t scrape the large rice cooker pan clean enough. I guess I’m not that young anymore. I remember moving heavy tabletops, chairs and dinner stuff up and down Capitol Hills Golf Clubhouse years ago without my legs nor bones staging a protest, vehemently, I should add.
Still, time passes.
And being with the volunteers, with the smiles back in our faces at Villamor, time, really does fly. Like those Ospreys we saw lifting off like space ships from off the runway.
As we give out food prepared by volunteer cooks and chefs, sandwiches lovingly made by other volunteers at the tent, we have a good gig running – a coffee commando stand, the long table for hot meals, the kitchen all a buzz, the sandwich pantry busy like any bee hive , it had to wonder what will the survivors be doing in Camp Aguinaldo. We tried to talk to some of the survivors as they wait patiently, although as of 4:30pm yesterday, the survivors were already in buses but were still waiting to be transported for 3 hours already.
In Tacloban Airstrip, they had to wait 3 days, or at least 48 hours to be on a flight to Manila. The flight is about an hour and a half, and at Villamor, they have to be grouped and processed, some for immediate medical attention, the rest mostly documentation and records, so give a an hour or so.
And I complain about a 3 hour bus ride to Magallanes just to switch buses bound for FTI to alight at Villamor.
But at the site, time passes, like rain drenching me when I was at Camp Aguinaldo meeting another volunteer who’s doing psychological support for the survivors – Ms. Tetchie of Gold’s Gym ,whom, by the time I got to ArtRelief at Villamor sent a group of young ones to help out – the rain poured and fell and washed the streets I walked to EDSA.
The rain went quickly, and these weather mood swings seem to be the norm nowadays.
Arrived at the site, buzzing.
And I began to lose track of time.
Maybe because I lost my Casio watch while enjoying the camaraderie. It was a 10-year battery , and about to die on me. That was a long time to own a watch, even for me. Goodbye, old watch, hope the person who found you can use the time to appreciate, even with the dilapidated state.
Maybe because doing volunteer work does wonders for the soul. And if auras are visible to the naked eye, the whole setup will be glowing bright colors, should you see the faces cooking, stirring, slicing, chopping, packing food, giving out water, minding the discarded stuff , cleaning up and then messing the place again with a new set of food preparation. By 1am this morning, Oplan Hatid was back in form, adding to the radiance of people and smiles.
And I lose track of time.
Maybe because I really don’t have to.
[Apologies to Teddy Arellano and Juan Benedicto. Sorry guys, I gave up on photography long time ago, so I steal from Indios and you guys. Thank you!]