Baptist Global Response
By Jeff Palmer
GIBITNGIL, Philippines — One is a farmer. One is a former state representative. Others include a retired mailman, a state agriculturist, a writer and a pastor. They even have one who is a “jack of all trades.” This is the team of disaster relief volunteers who have come from Missouri to help rebuild a school on the island of Gibitngil, Philippines, that was destroyed by Typhoon Haiyan on Nov. 7.
They labor under the hot tropical sun. They work in a place with no electricity and scarce water resources. They are having to use hand tools and confess they are much more used to power tools. But in the midst of the challenges and the frustrations, they are all smiles especially when it comes to relating to the local people.
They are “heroes” of sorts, at least to the local people there. They came to the small island a few days ago and brought with them materials to help rebuild the local school that was partially destroyed by the recent typhoon.
As they arrived by a small boat, they began to unload the materials, such as wood and tin roofing, and looked up the steep incline to the school almost a mile away. It was going to be a long walk hauling those materials. They were anticipating taking most of the day to haul the materials but something happened. The villagers and mostly the school children themselves began to take the materials and carry them to the building site. The disaster relief volunteers picked up loads as well and began joining in the “parade.” What seemed to be a daunting task turned into a parade of foreigners and locals working together to bring the needed construction supplies to the local school.
One of the volunteers described the scene as a festive occasion. The local people were happy to see the help come and they were happy to join in the efforts to rebuild their beloved school.
Thank you, Southern Baptists, for providing funds for the rebuilding of Gibitnil school. And thank you, Southern Baptists, for coming and help to rebuild.