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If each of us takes part in caring and sharing, the overwhelming challenge of poverty can be addressed. Alone we can do so little, but together we can do so much.

'Hope Stories of Haiyan'

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Joyful Anticipation
by Binsoi Rivera

One year after Haiyan, the local government and people of Buntod teach us that a big part of rebuilding
consists of finding joy in the waiting.

Read more Hope Stories of Haiyan

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You came here years ago attracted to the sea and the bounty it brings. You wanted to raise your family where the wind is gentle and sweet. The sea brought a lot of promise. It’s teeming with abundance from fishes to crustaceans and mussels. You know you’ll never be hungry here. But where the sea is generous, you found it difficult to find land to settle.

You built your house on borrowed ground. On the outskirts of other people’s property. That was your only choice. As for the other choices, you found out it was not yours to make. You are at the mercy of others. You were not allowed to build houses with better bones, only ones that can be easily demolished.

And so when Yolanda came with winds rampant in its destruction, it also offered you no choice. You were a mere spectator to its ferocity as it gutted your house, taking away your roof, your walls and every small bit that it can pry away until you were left with nothing.

Armando & Analyn Penetrante and their two children have been in Buntod for 37 years. Their main livelihood is mussel farming. Even before Yolanda came, their house was demolished because the landowner lost in the local elections

Loss is not something new to you.
You have learned how to pick up life’s pieces and move on armed with stronger resolve every time it offered you a hard blow. Twice you lost husbands to sickness. You were driven to Buntod to seek livelihood from the sea. You wanted to build your life back.

It was difficult, it was lonely but the sea was good enough to sustain you and your needs. You thought you can pick up from here but the sea that gave happened to also take away the life of your son. And Yolanda came and took some more of what little you have left. Life has been so cruel, you could have lost faith, you could have questioned why it is most unfair to you but
you opted to remain smiling and remain unbowed. Unbroken.

No stranger to pain and finding the courage to start over, Clemencia Balasa was twice a widower. Her 16 year-old son drowned in the seas of Buntod.

There are a lot of things you don’t know.
You wonder how you can replace what the wind carried away. How you can repair your broken tricycle, your broken sewing machine, the damaged fishing grounds and the house you strove so hard to build. You were sad and scared and hopeless. No one can blame you after all what you have been through. It was so hard to think what to do next.

The initial help of food came and
you survived on other people’s goodness for some weeks. Tents became makeshift shelters as you try to think on how to rebuild. You thought it funny to relive those younger days when you were a scout, camping in a tent. You also thought it funny when someone approaches you and asks if you are willing to avail of a house for free only if you volunteer.

Loreta Aranthon has found a way to fix her broken sewing machine. While Haiyan’s winds broke so many things, it cannot break her spirit.

You did not just think it was funny, you thought it was really crazy. Never in your existence in this strip of land called Buntod have you been witness to this idea. Free land? Free house?

You have got nothing to lose, and so you hesitantly volunteered.  Holes were dug on the ground, materials were delivered, and
slowly your hesitation turns to excitement as you see the houses rising. You found meaning in the words caring and sharing. Your courage grows. Your hope grows.

You begin to notice the wind again, the gentle breeze that brought you here.
You are thankful that life is a far greater gift than all that you’ve lost. This is Buntod. This is home.

The strong winds may yet come again but
your heart rests easy knowing that stronger walls will now shelter you. And the promise that no one gets left behind assures you that indeed, there is sunshine after every storm.

* * * * * * * * * *

This video was made by French Gawad Kalinga interns from the ESSEC School of Business, and the latter half shows their journey with Brgy. Buntod. The ESSEC-GK Village is being built today, and soon the Haiyan (Yolanda) survivors can move into their new homes.

Gawad Kalinga + ESSEC = Get Involved ! par Tournons Le Monde from TournonsLeMonde on Vimeo.

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'Hope Stories of Haiyan'


GK Buntod in Brgy. Buntod, Panay, Capiz, stands today because of the bayanihan of the typhoon survivors, volunteers, the local government, and partners like ESSEC who generously gave towards Gawad Kalinga’s Haiyan Reconstruction Efforts.

But the work is far from over, and there are thousands more who need to be relocated to safe communities like this one. Find out how you can help #endpoverty today.

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