Expat living in Southern Leyte, The Philippines. PWS onsite since about May 2012. Updating to Wunderground every 5 minutes. Owner of small hotel
By: Caimito , 8:48 AM GMT on November 08, 2013
Video of Storm Surge in Mindanao (South China) Sea after Haiyan left us earlier
Best viewed in full screen at 720
DECEMBER 1 2013 .....
'I Cannot Do Nothing'
3:00 am. The sky is crowded with stars fighting for their place in the sky. The nearby trees with flickering lights reminds me that Christmas is near. The sound of trickling water as the tide recedes from the white sand beach which is my home tonight.
Idyllic, you think?
The stars, the beach, the sea are real. The flickering lights on the trees are fireflies. The beach is littered with debris from that 'monster' that beset us some three weeks ago. There will be no Christmas here this year.
I am in Barangay (village) Tugas, Tabango, Leyte. Some distance from the towns of Kilcock and Leixlip, where I spent my first four decades of my life on earth, and 4 hours from my current home in Maasin.
5:00 am. The sun is breaking over the mountain behind me, revealing the piles of mangled tin and fallen trees. The sounds of fighting cocks echo through this village. Between you hear the sounds of voices, my workers, readying for the day ahead.. A village? Not as we know a village in Ireland. These people were poor before the 'monster', living in makeshift native houses along the hillside.
Why am I here? Well as many of you know I live in Maasin, Southern Leyte, where I have a small hotel. We were largely unaffected by the 'monster' (Tugas, Tabango, Leyte, was flattened). I set up a fund some two weeks ago to help rebuild the lives of the Leyte people affected by the 'monster'. Because of my experience in building (ANCO former carpentry apprentice), and the fact that I worked with Filipino carpenters and chainsaw operators before, 'I could not do nothing'. I also speak some of the local language and most importantly understand the people and their culture.
Some of the families are living in these homes made from the storm rubble while awaiting new home.
What am I doing? I am building 30 native homes (1 a day). This process starts off with the chainsaw operators cut the fallen coconut trees into 4x4, 4x2, 3x2 and 2x2 timber. My carpenters then build a wooden framed building, 12' x 10' and cover in corrugated galvanized steel. The house owner then covers the floor joists with split bamboo. The outside walls are also covered in bamboo or whatever local materials are available from the land (they do not own the land, mind you). On completion the new home owner then gets P500 (about €8) from our funds to finish off the inside. The cost is about €200 for each house. It would be cheaper if we were not so far (4 hours) from our own homes in Southern Leyte. The last part of the journey can only be undertaken by 4x4 vehicles.
First of the 10 houses completed on week 1.
The funding is by donations from my friends, and friends of friends (thank you). The 'nowhere to be seen' aid agencies are just too bureaucratic for projects like these. We have no administration costs.
After the 30 houses? As long as I have funds I aim to build these basic houses 'till I die. In my opinion very family deserves a basic 12' x 10' place to call home.
Tomorrow morning I will be off back to Tabango to my beach 'villa', with 320 sheets of roofing, 250KG of nails, my brother Gary Canning, and cousin Declan Canning.
Maasin crew in our beach 'Villa' which is our home for now.
Goodbye and thank you for reading ........ Pascal Canning ..... 'I cannot do nothing'
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