Typhoon Yolanda: Lessons Learned From the Mayor


Today was a strange day. I started feeling a bit sick yesterday. I spent most of the night wishing I had a sit-down toilet. I’m a big fan of Pepto Bismol. It really isn’t fun to sleep under a mosquito net when you have to keep getting up. The worst thing is when you think you're ready to go back to bed, you climb back under the net, get the net repositioned and stretch back out for a good night sleep and then, nope, I have to crawl out from under the net and tiptoe across the room so I don’t wake the rest of the team as I go back to the bathroom which is now leaking from a panel in the ceiling despite the fact that it isn’t raining outside. I’m not sure that I really want to know why. I’m not sure if the floor above us has filled up like a swimming pool or if there is a broken pipe or what. I just don't want the panel to come swinging open and have 50 gallons of murky water come down on my head! Focusing on the job at hand, I hurried up and went back to bed only to repeat the exercise four or five times last night.

Philippine Jeepney

Philippine Jeepney

We planned to have a short day today because today is the day that the Mayor is going to take our team out and show us what happened when the Typhoon struck his home.

We went to our first stop and found that another team from the Department of Health was already there. Not wanting to duplicate efforts, we continued on to another barangay. We set up in a mostly destroyed church and saw about ten people before we found out that another team had been there the previous day. We decided to pack it up and head back to RTR. There are still a ton of barangays that have not had any care. Please don’t conclude that the work is done. Far from it. It is just hard to know where the teams from other organizations have gone.

Our tour with the Mayor was unbelievable. Here is the exclusive interview (well worth the listen):

Our team went back to RTR after our tour with the Mayor and had some quality time together. I’m so appreciative of this team. We all have different gifts but there is a wonderful team spirit and willingness to pitch in. There has been absolutely no conflict and that is saying something considering the conditions that we are working in and living in. Wow! What an amazing team. I’m hopeful that we will be able to deploy again together.

The Mayor told me that he asked his staff the following question, "Do you want to sit this one out or get involved....your grandchildren will ask you, 'So what did you do?'" That's a question well worth pondering next time you're facing challenging times!