Of all the effects that a disaster could bring, emotional trauma is easily the worst. Young and old are both vulnerable to it, and if not addressed, might lead to something worse.
As they continue with their relief work in quake-hit Ormoc City, Tzu Chi volunteers are not only focusing on providing material aid. They also organize programs to lift the troubled spirits of the victims.
On July 14, Taiwan-based Tzu Chi volunteer Huang Yu-Chuan gathers the children in the evacuation areas to teach them Tzu Chi songs and sign languages. Despite the language barrier, Huang managed to communicate with the children and leave them with good memories. It was an effort to bring peace into the kids’ troubled hearts.
The same goes with the kids’ parents and the elderlies.
Faced with the reality of losing their homes, properties, and normal lives, quake victims are confused and filled with fears and anxiety. Many times, they can only silently cry.
Tzu Chi volunteers comfort them with encouraging words and warm hugs.
“I know that they are suffering right now but we want to extend our love to them so that they will not feel that they are alone in this difficult time,” says Tzu Chi volunteer Mary Joy Calilong, a local of Ormoc.
Calilong also experienced the 6.5-magnitude earthquake that shook the Leyte province on July 6. Unlike these people whom she is comforting, however, she is lucky that her home withstood the ground shaking.
Quake victim Nicolas Bayron Sr. has only words of gratitude to the volunteers who showed them love.
“I cried because I was touched by the message of love and the prayer from Tzu Chi, I am very happy that you came here and gave us beds after the tragedy that happened to us in Lake Danao caused by the earthquake,” says the 78-year-old grandpa.
Norma Laurente holds on to a Tzu Chi volunteer as she weeps her grief away.
This is the first time she came across the Tzu Chi volunteers. When Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) happened, she was in Samar and could only listen to her neighbors go on about the kindness of the Tzu Chi volunteers.
Today, seeing it for herself, she says, “Tzu Chi volunteers are very kind and they treat people really well. I am full of admiration towards them.”
In the face of calamities, human lives are very impermanent. But the struggle is easy to bear when everyone loves one another and looks after each other.
A Tzu Chi volunteer gives inspirational talks during the relief program in hopes of passing on important life lessons to the earthquake victims.【Photo by Jamaica Digo】
A Tzu Chi volunteer interacts with the young quake victims to ease the trauma from the disaster.【Photo by Jamaica Digo】
A Tzu Chi volunteer comforts an earthquake victim who becomes emotional during the program. More than the relief aid, Tzu Chi volunteers aim to lift the spirits of the quake victims and make them feel loved.【Photo by Jamaica Digo】
Tzu Chi volunteers and the earthquake victims grew emotional during the relief program. The volunteers give the victims warm hugs to make the latter feel that they are not alone in this difficult time. 【Photo by Jamaica Digo】