First Few Days with All Hands, Cagayan de Oro

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Living down the street from one of the ShelterBox communities, I arrived safely at the All Hands (bright purple) house.  It is quite nice with two bedrooms downstairs (three bunks) and about fourteen bunks upstairs.  The upstairs looks like a little fairytale room– seven dwarfs because they are so tiny.

Friday, Feb 10

I went out to the construction site that we are working at.  It is organized by the Phillipines Habitat for Humanity.  They are trying to build 6,000 homes in six months to a year.  The houses are made by cement blocks.

Saturday, Feb 11

Today I mucked out a couple of homes that had been devastated by the storm.  On December 16th, around midnight, the water rose from inches to feet in a matter of seconds.  In the Emily Homes community that we are working in hundreds of people got washed away from the flooded river waters.  There is a mango tree growing on a sand bar in the middle of that river and almost two hundred people were holding on to it during the floods.  There were two men I talked to two men who lost their wives and children in the flooding.  It was devastating to hear their stories.  The older man was quite drunk and kept apologising for stumbling over when he was squatting.  It was awful to see.

We worked on the final touches of cleaning a house from mud.  It involved scrapping the last bit of mud off the walls with brushes and floors with squidgies.  Work was a little slow because there was a bit of miscommunication between the owners of the houses.  Most of them were staying at relatives’ houses and so were not at the houses to unlock them so that we could work.  Unlike Haiti, most of the families have either helped or provided snacks for us.   Though these families have lost almost everything (I found credit cards, chargers, clothing, pillows, blankets, and countless other possessions all destroyed by the mud), they were so grateful to meet and have us.  The All Hands organization fills a unique niche of providing free labor for

It started raining when we returned from work and so I went to help with digging out trenches.  I started talking to a nice man there that was visiting his friend, who apparently had been washed away to sea with four other people on a tire.  He was swept all the way to an island more than 60 km away.  He was at sea for around 18 hours.

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