With the goal to help alleviate the pain of those that suffer, on January 10, Tzu Chi volunteers head to Barangay Manresa to conduct a relief distribution for the victims of a fire that happened on the 5th of January, 2018.
While most of us were asleep in the comforts of our beds and in the security of our homes, the residents of Barangay Manresa were wide awake, running and rushing to safety with nothing but the clothes on their backs and with a grieving hearts.
Thirty minutes before midnight, a fire at Barangay Manresa razed the homes of 595 families, rendering them homeless and helpless. Flames engulfed the community burning houses after houses that were made of light materials.
Just 5 days after celebrating the New Year, it was unfortunate for the residents to encounter such tragedy, but despite having to start again, they were full of gratitude and contentment because of the constant assistance they have been receiving since the incident.
Although numerous NGOs, and government officials were able to extend their help to the victims such as providing temporary shelters, relief items and groceries, Tzu Chi volunteer Elsa Lee explained the difference between the goods that Tzu Chi distributed from other organizations.
She shared that the items go through numerous processes in order to be produced. An example is the blanket made from recycled PET bottles that came all the way from Taiwan. From the volunteers that collect the recyclables, to the volunteers that segregate, and to the volunteers that prep the materials, these are all significant as it had gone through so much love and care of the Tzu Chi Foundation for people who are most in need.
Lee had also been a volunteer during the rice distribution that was held on December 19, 2018 in the barangay and despite having a sprain in her left hand today, she continued to give out the items to the victims with the other volunteers.
Nestor Astudillo woke up his 90-year old mother, Juliana the moment their house catch fire. They were not able to save anything except for themselves, although he was devastated, but at the same time he felt relief because they made it out alive.
He was glad because relief goods kept pouring in from different sectors, he was thankful to Tzu Chi for teaching him the values of getting along with others and sharing whatever he can especially now that most of them were relocated to cramped and overpopulated evacuation centers.
His mother, Juliana smiled throughout the entire relief distribution, and she continued to express her happiness the moment she receives the relief items.
Tzu Chi scholar Ryan Rusuello and his family were also affected by the fire. His mother, Christina was a Tzu Chi volunteer but she wasn’t able to continue on because she had to take care of her grandchildren and their store.
As she has been a volunteer, she understood the values and the principles that Tzu Chi stood for. She was well aware of the immediate response that Tzu Chi does whenever there are disasters and that they are always willing to help.
She was able to learn generosity as a volunteer, and the importance of providing aid to anyone in need.