by Loren Hyatt
This past week, I had the chance to celebrate Thanksgiving with my husband’s family. All of my in-laws from across the country came together to celebrate family and give thanks for all that we have been given.
As we gathered around the table for our Thanksgiving meal on Thursday, I was happy to be surrounded by so much love and laughter. However, as I reflected on all that I had to be thankful for, I also remembered Delia Moreno and her table in the Philippines.
I met Delia just over a week ago during an assessment trip conducted by a group of LWR staff. We traveled to northern Cebu and western Leyte provinces in the Philippines to survey damage from Typhoon Haiyan. Delia is a mother and grandmother who lives in Cebu’s Daanbantayan municipality. Delia’s village, Maya barangay, was hit hard by Typhoon Haiyan, which blew across Cebu and surrounding islands in early November.
Delia was in her house as the typhoon approached. As the winds grew stronger and a coconut tree fell on her house, Delia fled for the safety of a neighbor’s house with grandchildren in tow. “We ran for our lives,” she told me. “I felt very sad when the storm was coming. I prayed to God that I would receive God’s grace.”
While Delia, her grandchildren and her daughter safely survived the storm, Delia’s house did not. Her home was destroyed by Typhoon Haiyan. When Delia returned, all that remained was a pile of debris from what had once been her home.
A widow living on her own, Delia used to support herself by selling items for consignment. However, Delia no longer has anything to sell and depends on her daughter and the benevolence of neighbors to survive. She told me, “I cannot sell anything now because I don’t have a house to cover me.”
At night, she sleeps on the floor of her daughter’s house. While her daughter’s house was only partially damaged by the storm, it no longer has a roof. So when it rains, Delia sleeps under a table outside the house to protect herself from the rain.
As I sat at the Thanksgiving table this past Thursday, I was reminded of Delia’s table, the one place that she has to seek refuge from the heat of the sun and chill of the rain. While we have so much to be thankful for this holiday season, we must not forget those who have lost almost everything as a result of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.
As you conclude Thanksgiving celebrations with your family and begin preparing for Christmas, I pray that you remember Delia and her family.
With your support, LWR has given Delia a shelter repair kit to begin repairing the damage to her home. However, there are many others like her in the Philippines who spend the night under tables, tents and tarps as they await assistance to rebuild their houses and their lives following the typhoon.
Please consider donating to LWR on #GivingTuesday and throughout the holiday season to support the important work we are doing to rebuild houses following Typhoon Haiyan. With your help, we can rebuild the Philippines and give people like Delia something to be thankful for this holiday season.