My youngest sister, niece, and nephews are now back to school two weeks after the typhoon. It’s been a month now since the strongest typhoon in the world (in 2013) hit the Philippines and severely devastated the island of Leyte where I came from. The communication is now resumed but only in selected areas in the province. I was able to reach my parents and talked to them thru free unlimited calls and text to the Philippines (mobile phones or landlines) offered by Verizon Wireless.
There is still now power in my hometown. And for safety purposes, there is a curfew hour. So students are dismissed at 3:00 P.M. and should be home not later than 4:00 P.M. We are all praying for everybody’s safety.
Because some school buildings were damaged by the typhoon, students in high school and elementary are have alternating schedule. According to my sister, my niece’s classes are on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. My nephew’s are on Mondays thru Thursdays. My youngest sister who is in college has classes on Saturdays now.
As of the moment, they don’t know what’s going on in the world. They don’t have a transistor radio which they can use at least to listen to local news. I hope the power will be restored very, very soon. But with all the damages to the power lines, the estimated time for the electricity to be restored in my hometown is mid next year. Oh dear!
After a couple of weeks after the super typhoon Haiyan (local name Yolanda) hit the Philippines, I was able to contact my siblings. My youngest sister who was in Cebu during the typhoon’s devastation in Central Visayas, was able to connect thru the Internet in the hotel where they stayed. Gladly her cell phone has built-in WIFI service so she messaged me right away on Facebook as soon as she arrived from the Geriatric institution where she was in-training. I was very worried that she can’t be reached, too.
So we made a plan. Since she’s already in Cebu, I sent her money to buy groceries to give to our parents and our other siblings’ families. But she encountered a problem in claiming the money at a MoneyGram agent (a pawnshop) in Cebu. Her student identification wasn’t accepted as a valid ID. The agent asked for another ID like a voter’s or a Postal. But my sister didn’t have those because:
1. her voter’s ID hasn’t been released yet after the National Elections summer of 2012 (if I am not mistaken with the date), and
2. She didn’t have a Postal ID.
Because she was giving a hard time at the pawnshop, she sent me a text message telling me what’s going on. I made a long distance call to talk to the manager pleading and telling her that I am sending the money for my family in Leyte who was severely affected by the typhoon. She can verify that my sister lives in Leyte by checking her student ID. But the manager didn’t listen. She didn’t understand the situation. I totally understand that they need to ask for another identification from sister. But in this critical situation, they should at least grand a situational consideration. Don’t you think? I called the MoneyGram here in the US requesting a note to release the money to my sister. The MoneyGram customer service representative was very helpful. He said will grant my request, but, the agent must call them. Did the agent call? Nope. That was an addition to the most frustrating and disappointing experiences in my life!
My sister still got the money the next day thru her classmate. Thanks so much to her classmate for being so nice and understanding. My sister bought groceries in Cebu as soon as she got the funds. Thankfully I was able send a message to my brother thru his wife’s cousin about our sister’s coming home from Cebu. My brother fetched her at the ferry terminal in Ormoc. When my brother told me that everybody’s fine after the typhoon and our sister got home safely. Then I slept well again.