Spell Saab

So we fed a few people. Now what?

It’s Day 6 and Facebook, Twitter, TV, the papers- everything’s still Flooded with news about the Flood (though a little less than before). I even have some friends getting angry when their other friends post “useless” stuff- you know- the kind of stuff we’d normally post if there wasn’t an emergency or disaster.

But here’s reality… a few days or weeks from now, things will not-so-slowly start to look normal again. At least for us. Facebook will have less stuff about emergency relief, and more of those quizzes, and games, and scores, and invitations to gigs and parties and whatnot. In a few days, Ondoy will no longer be “the news”. When Ondoy gets old, it will be forgotten. It will be just another problem that we’ve learned to live with.

The truth of the matter is this- 95% of the people whom we are helping now- they needed our help BEFORE the typhoon. They were hit hardest because they’re the ones who live in shanties, they’re the ones without medical access, they’re the ones with no jobs and no money, and a lot of them didn’t have water even before the flood. Heck a lot of them needed food before Ondoy. And they existed, while we existed, side by side. We never bothered to help them. And when Ondoy gets old- when it moves from “front and center” to the sidelines of our attention and life goes back to “normal”, these people will still need our help.

They needed our attention BEFORE the typhoon. They will need our attention AFTER the typhoon.

If anything the typhoon opened our eyes to the REAL situation our countrymen were in. This post is just my way of asking everybody to be around for them PERMANENTLY. The great thing about Ondoy is that with everybody helping, we have some sort of momentum going. And when we move from Red Alert to whatever color normal living is, we can still keep that momentum going and never stop helping, and sharing, and giving.

What does it take for these people to live better? When the flood goes down, many will need homes again. Then they’ll need jobs. Then they’ll need infrastructure built in their towns. Reliable water supply. Transportation. Schools should be rebuilt. Education should be made accessible. Crime should be controlled. Guys these are OLD problems. We can’t just be heroes when it comes to NEW problems. All old problems were once new, and they stayed there because somewhere along the way, we forgot how to follow through. I remember watching a movie called “Charlie Wilson’s War” which was all about the time when the US helped Afghanistan defend itself against Russia back in the day. The movie ended with a strong quote:

“These things happened. They were glorious and they changed the world… and then we f——d up the endgame.”

Guys, let’s not screw up the end game. If we’re here to help, let’s make sure we follow through. This is where I shut up and let you guys do the talking. Use the comment box below to share your ideas and thoughts on the matter. Before I do shut up let me leave you with one last thought- I truly believe that we have everything it takes to make all the changes we say we want in this country. There’s no resource, talent, skill, or connection that is unavailable to us. The question is this- will we make it available to them?

By: Stefan Suarez

October 2, 2009
October 2, 2009