The second day of Tzu Chi Foundation’s rice stub distribution for Tropical Storm Vinta and Tropical Depression Agaton survivors in Iligan City, Lanao del Norte on January 31 saw Tzu Chi volunteers dispensing 5,573 stubs. The stub entitles the holder to a 20-kilo sack of Taiwan rice on February 3.
Activities like this require great manpower. Sacrifices have to be made and challenges are inevitable. But 20 Tzu Chi volunteers proved that teamwork, unity, understanding, and dedication complete a task, no matter how daunting it initially looks.
“From Manila to Iligan, we have not been able to sleep yet. We met at the Jing Si Hall in Quezon City at 12:00 midnight on January 30 then headed straight to the airport. From Laguindingan Airport in Misamis Oriental, we arrived in Iligan at 7am and got to work immediately,” shares Marikina Tzu Chi volunteer Teodulo Granada.
During the distributions, handling the crowd of beneficiaries was also no easy feat. However, Tzu Chi volunteers remained calm and positive.
“People are so eager to get their stubs to the point that they are pushing each other. We tell them not to push, curse, or get angry because that’s how we do things in Tzu Chi – organized and peaceful. They reflect on themselves and understood because we humbly talked to them,” says Granada.
Tzu Chi volunteer Nariza Gelazo received warnings from her friends when they found out she is joining the relief work in Iligan.
“My friends told me not to go because it’s dangerous. But why would I be scared if our goal is to help people? Also, people ask me ‘aren’t you tired?’ I answer them “tired but happy because if helping really comes from your heart, you wouldn’t mind a tiring day,” says Gelazo.
The stub distributions also gathered the support of the locals. More than 15 volunteers from Congressman Frederick Siao’s office assisted in the activities. One of them, Divina Turla, says they have been doing relief activities for years. Organizing one can get complicated. Although Tzu Chi volunteers only had little time to prepare, the stub distributions went well.
”We learned a lot of new strategies and ideas in events organization and management from the Tzu Chi volunteers. We also realized the importance of discipline in executing and finishing a task,” says Turla.
Narcisa Lindio volunteered to translate for the Tzu Chi volunteers. She received relief aid from Tzu Chi after Typhoon Sendong in 2011.
Lindio still remembers how Sendong stripped her family of their belongings. “But our burden was eased when Tzu Chi Foundation came with relief aid. Since then, I have not forgotten Tzu Chi Foundation. In fact, I still have the blanket they gave us several years ago,” says Lindio.
When Lindio found out that Tzu Chi will conduct a rice distribution in Iligan, she seized the opportunity to pay forward the help she had received.
Meanwhile, the harmony and the happiness she witnessed among the Tzu Chi volunteers is an inspiration to Norafe Esconal.
“After volunteering with Tzu Chi for two days, I realized I want to be part of this group like a certified Tzu Chi volunteer. Seeing the smiles of the people because of Tzu Chi inspires me. I also want to help and share this happiness to others. I am very much willing to attend seminars and training sessions to become a volunteer,” says Esconal.
Like Tzu Chi volunteers, you can #HelpTzuChiHelpOthers. Visit http://tzuchi.org.ph/how-to-help/donation/ to find out how.
More than 1,300 residents from Barangay Mahayahay, Ubaldo, and Palao gather at Mahayahay Gym to claim their stubs for the rice distribution on February 3. 【Photo by Chloe Dela Cruz】
In Kiwalan Gym, almost 1,000 families come to claim their rice stubs. 【Photo by Chloe Dela Cruz】
Narcisa Lindio translates for a Tzu Chi volunteer. Since some of the Iliganons cannot speak Tagalog, Lindio makes communication between volunteer and recipient easier. 【Photo by Chloe Dela Cruz】
Muslims express their gratefulness to Divina Turla for assisting Tzu Chi Foundation in reaching out to them. 【Photo by Chloe Dela Cruz】
Tzu Chi volunteer Nariza Gelazo holds the rice stubs that they are going to distribute to the residents of Barangay Buruun, Maria Cristina, and Ditucalan. 【Photo by Chloe Dela Cruz】
When the recipients lose their temper because of the hot and stuffy environment, local volunteer Norafe Esconal does her best to calm and assure them that everyone will get a stub. 【Photo by Chloe Dela Cruz】
Tzu Chi volunteer Lilia Zarate attends to the concern of Nueva Santiago, who is claiming the rice stub for her ailing child. 【Photo by Chloe Dela Cruz】
Tzu Chi volunteer Jimmy Chua explains how to stamp the stubs to avoid confusion on the day of the relief distribution.【Photo by Chloe Dela Cruz】
Iliganon volunteer Emily Hynson approaches the recipients to check on their condition. Hynson believes that serving means being concern about the welfare of the people. She also expresses her wish to become a Tzu Chi volunteer. 【Photo by Chloe Dela Cruz】
A volunteer from the Congressman’s office, Aldrich Sabac, ensures discipline among the recipients while waiting for their turn to claim the rice stubs. 【Photo by Chloe Dela Cruz】
Tzu Chi volunteers do not tire of bowing 90 degrees as they hand the rice stubs to hundreds of recipients. 【Photo by Chloe Dela Cruz】
Although tired, Tzu Chi volunteers still wear smiles on their faces in handing the stubs to the recipients. 【Photo by Chloe Dela Cruz】
The bracelet that Tzu Chi volunteers are wearing came from Master Cheng Yen and is a reminder of her teachings such as kindness and patience. 【Photo by Chloe Dela Cruz】