On the last day of the cleanup drive, the participants and heavy equipment did their job and bring a new future for their Barangay.
The last day of the cleanup drive started with 87 participants. Some of them cheerfully joke with the volunteers before the arrival of the heavy equipment to do a final clean-up of the streets.
Belenda Castillo one of the many participants and beneficiaries of the drive went up to Tzu Chi staff and expressed her gratitude tearfully, “Many, many thanks to the Tzu Chi Foundation because we received money today from them. We used the money to buy materials for our house.
I cannot thank them enough because without them, we would have waited for my children to send me money for repairs. We don’t have any things left. Our things were washed away by the storm or buried in the mud. I’m living with one of my children now, and even their house is in dire need of repairs. Even the school items, nothing was left. They were all washed away by the flood. I have nothing else to give but my deepest gratitude to the Tzu Chi Foundation.”
After lunch, Tzu Chi members joined the residents in pushing a tilted house back to its former state.
Members of the purok were interested to become Tzu Chi members, Florencia Salva said, “I wish to volunteer for Tzu Chi Foundation Philippines because even if we are victims of the flood, we still want to help others even if we too are in dire need of help. We also want to share with others on how to be a volunteer of the Tzu Chi Foundation”.
“I still can’t believe it,” she tearfully said when asked why she cried during the prayer the day before, “There were many times we have been flooded, but this was the first time we were helped like this. It’s amazing. It’s like the help given is straight from the heart. It would usually take a month before we could recover but now it took 3 days or four days for everything to be fixed. So thank you very much to the Tzu Chi Foundation”.
Fildith Seraza, a Tzu Chi Davao staff member for a year who experienced something like this for the first time, added: “What I first saw is that this place is a hard place to live in. People do not know what to do at first because all their things have been washed out by the flood. Their houses are filled with mud. They do not know where to start. So the Tzu Chi Foundation of Davao with the cooperation and coordination of Tzu Chi Manila helped and volunteered to help this place”.
Tzu Chi Davao volunteer Nelson Chua had this to say about the urgency of the situation; “They really need our help and we have to help them”.
When asked why he used some of the dump trucks in is company he simply said, “We couldn’t find any other dump trucks so I took the ones from my company and I told the company that we can just paint over them again.
I see the situation here and it needs to be fixed right now. We have no choice. So all the equipment; the trucks all came from my company. The others I even have to borrow or lease them from my friends”.
He then smiled and said, “We really should help now. Look at the people. If we had not helped anyone, the place would still be dirty. They couldn’t mobilize, the trash is still inside their homes, the roads are filled with mud, and no one is moving. It’s almost been a week. So I really think it needed to be fixed right away. I actually thought it would take a week but we were able to do this in three days. It’s good that we have a lot of people and a lot of equipment and the residents were a great help too because they were diligent. I have nothing else to say.”
After the staff gave the last cash assistance to the participants, the day ended with tears and farewell with hugs and a lot of hand shaking.