Monday, November 18, 2013


Ciudad Medical Zamboanga had a whole day affair at the Tetuan Central School for a composite program involving a Medical Mission including Breast Wellness - Psychosocial activities (for all ages graced by Jolibee) - Food and Relief Operations last October 2013 as part of the Tenth Year Anniversary of CMZ !
We made friends with amiable little girls called Charlotte and company.  I was asking how they lived there and they willingly invited us to check out their living conditions as they stayed in several classrooms of this elementary school.

So here is a glimpse of their life in an evacuation center. Most of the evacuees here are from Sta. Barbara, Lustre, Sta. Catalina and Mariki!

There are still signs of the several days with heavy rain. 
They also have stores around the place...
Here is Room 2 and Room 37 (I hope I remember the rooms right!). Charlotte shared that there are about 5 families living in each room.
The kids have already gotten used to their life in the center and have found ways to entertain themselves such as by games and dancing. But, they also shared that they were afraid of the MNLF and the exchange of fire during the Stand-off. They also sometimes fear the sound of the hovering helicopters! 

It was unfortunate, though, that the kids were afraid of having their heads chopped off because someone shared to the kids, a cellphone video of children who were beheaded. It seems the kids thought that this video is current, but, it this may have been an older video probably from another country because we did not hear this kind of atrocity during this Zamboanga City Siege 2013.

I would like to request the adults: Please do not frighten the kids in that way. Some kids verbally expressed that he couldn't sleep at night after watching the video.

Then, I was teasing Charlotte that she could be a beauty queen when she grows up. However, she said she'd prefer to be a soldier!!!

As we moved around the evacuation center, here are more scenes...
And this family lost their houses during the fire in the conflict area.
These are the portable comfort rooms for urinating only. They had other toilets nearer their rooms. 
Some can still relax in this times.
The situation in this evacuation center is still fine considering that the evacuees respect the places they are living in now.  They clean the place and the classrooms still look clean and arranged.  And, the families have learned how to live with each other. 

The kids' smiles are so sincere and it was so interesting that they could cling to me and yet, I still felt comfortable. (And, the JSOTF-P [American troops] have also mentioned that the kids were also so friendly with some of their members) Two of the kids smiled and said, "Can you take us home?"

One of the things the kids were really asking if there are toys to be given away...fortunately, we also distributed toys and clothes aside from relief goods! I realized even in dismal events, the children still needed things which could give them joy.
This was a very enlightening day for us. The kids can easily adapt against all odds. There are some who are still afraid, thus, the importance of Stress Debriefing should be emphasized.
It seems after the series of grave natural calamities such as the Earthquake in Cebu and Bohol and now, Super Typhoon Yolanda, we in Zamboanga City are now feeling blessed. We did undergo a very dragging and dangerous incident, but, it seems what happened in Zamboanga in three weeks happened to Yolanda's victims in just a few hours and sparing  no one.

We are now in the Rebuilding Phase, although, this isn't that easy either. Some of the evacuees may have gone home by now. We do hope that they too could rebuild their own lives and rise above this adversity!

P.S. Thank you to everyone from CMZ who participated in the Medical Mission including Breast Wellness - Psychosocial activities (for all ages graced by Jolibee) - Food Distribution and Relief Operations

      Thank you to our partners from the pharmaceutical industry and suppliers.

     Thank you to our partners from Chooks- to- Go! (through Ron Natividad) for our food.

      Thank you to the office of Senator Trillanes (through Cezar Carmel Tamba) for our relief goods.

        Thank you to the community partners and from the DSWD group.