Yolanda

Image courtesy of Ted Aljibe/AFP/Getty images

Image courtesy of Ted Aljibe/AFP/Getty images

You don’t need me to point out where this photo was taken, nor what messages sit behind the faces within it.

I only have admiration for those people who are on hand in the Philippines at the moment, helping, and only great sadness and hope for those whose lives have been altered forever.

For any long standing visitors to my blogs, it will hopefully have been made obvious by now that I have involved my organisation, CARE International, and the developmental issues we address around the world mainly as a platform from which to couch ideas and thoughts – mainly, in other words, as a lens through which I can write.

The world has collectively reacted to the images created by the Haiyan (Yolanda) typhoon, and we have all shared our thoughts with loved ones, friends, colleagues, people sat next to us on the bus.

Pointless as it typically is to try and immediately draw any conclusions as to what events like these ‘mean’, or what they reinforce to us all as fellow citizens on the planet, the one thing that remains tangible and easy for many of us to do, is support the work of those agencies who are, today, right now, saving lives.

It is not my intention to use this space again to promote CARE or the work of the other DEC (Disaster Emergency Committee) members, but today, and right now, that is what I am doing.

Here is a link through which you can lend your support:

http://www.careinternational.org.uk/news-and-press/latest-news-features/2459-typhoon-haiyan-this-will-haunt-me-for-a-long-time-

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Food glorious food

Dark green forests and plantations, rolling hillsides dotted with the metallic roof tops of local sugar cane farms and homesteads.  Uneven tarmac, and battered shop awnings displaying adverts from bygone eras for hot chocolate, soap powders and cigarette brands.  School children, immaculately dressed, walking hand in hand along the roadside, taxis, bicycles and spluttering trucks whirling inches past them.

I could be back in Uganda 15 years ago, but in fact am in the Philippines city of Davao.  

It is the largest city in the world in terms of sheer geography, but where I am, more towards the outskirts, you do not feel much of the effects of urban sprawl, and the comparables here with the sights and sounds recalled from time spent in Africa are striking.  

The tropical latitude shared by the Philippines and the part of East Africa that I know best, mean that from the moment you step off the plane in Davao (located in the south of the country, an hour and a half flight from its capital, Manila, in the north) you experience the uplifting smell of equatorial life, its warmth, moisture and its connections with nature.  A permanent background noise of birdsong and grasshopper symphony follow you about, day and night. Continue reading