Monday, October 26, 2009

“It is better to light just one little candle…”

ROTARIANS PROVIDE “HOME” TO TYPHOON VICTIMS: Among the most-devastated victims of Typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng from Botolan, Zambales in Luzon, their greatest gratitude in their quest for a new life is now reserved for Rotarians of Rotary International (RI), particularly Filipino Rotarians who are proving they have not grown tired of helping anyone.

The reason, I was told when I joined a trip to visit them Sunday, October 25, 2009, was that Rotarians have given them not only food and other goodies that could tide them over day after day after virtually all of their possessions---animals and plants included---have been swept away by rampaging floodwaters.

More importantly, Rotarians have given the hapless Zambalenos new, even if merely temporary, homes, in the form of roomy and comfortable tents which came all the way from New Zealand and Australia.

These tents, called Rotary “shelter box” tents which are valued at P37,000 each but which were given to them for free, have provided the victims virtual “haven” and refuge, at a time when, 79 days or so after their houses were destroyed by Ondoy and Pepeng, they really have nowhere else to go.


TYPHOON VICTIMS FIND NO RELOCATION SITES: These Rotary shelter box tents have rightly become proud testaments to what Rotarians can do and accomplish in the spirit of true and untainted volunteerism, over and above mere distribution of relief goods and donations.

While some may say that the tents are not permanent in character and could in fact break down from sheer exposure to the elements in the days to come, the fact remains that they are now the only valued possession that hold the victims and their families together safely in one place.

The tents are now what passes off as “home” among the calamity-stricken residents, and, by virtue of their own reckoning, a home or a temporary shelter is the least that they could really afford right after the strong winds, great floods and continuous rains buffeted them during the height of Typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng and divested them of almost everything.

Sally Dionisio, 40, told me that she and her fellow victims (who are now inhabiting Tent City 1 and Tent City 2 in the outskirts of Botolan, Zambales) could not really thank Rotarians enough for providing them with “homes” through the shelter box tents, when even their own local government units have been unable, even up to now, to find relocation sites for them.


CIVIC-MINDED CITIZENS CAN SOLVE PROBLEMS BY COOPERATION: The trip last Sunday, October 25, 2009, was arranged by Past RI District 3810 Gov. Lyne Abanilla, who is also the incumbent chairman of RI’s Zone 7 Public Relations Group covering the Philippines and Indonesia, and by Rotary Clubs from Manila and Pasay City.

Accompanying the Rotarians was a truckload of food, water, medicine, blankets, mats, apples, oranges and other fruits and goodies especially for children, which were distributed by Rotarians from District 3810 and District 3790 (under Visionary District Gov. Roland “Oyan” Villanueva).

President Jun Salvador of the Rotary Club of Botolan, Zambales and his club prepared a special lunch for all those who were present at the Sand Valley Beach Resort, also in Botolan (owned by Club Past President Jun Farin).

What this trip taught me was this: if only similarly-minded citizens would come together and decide to help the poor and the needy and the calamity-stricken, there is no problem that can not be solved, and there is no victim that can not recover.

As the highly-inspiring song intones: “It is better to light just one little candle than to stumble in the dark…”


THE TRANSFIGURATION OF JESUS: In the life of Jesus, there are two incidents which are recounted in the Bible where God Himself confirms, directly and in no uncertain terms, that Jesus is, indeed, the Son of God.

The first incident is the baptism of Jesus at the River Jordan, and the second incident is the so-called “Transfiguration” on top of the mountain.

In these two incidents, God announces, in the full view and hearing of many people: “This is my son, whom I am well pleased, whom I have chosen, listen to him.”

The “Transfiguration” now forms part of the Holy Rosary of the Roman Catholic Christians as its fourth mystery in its Mysteries of Light (or Luminous Mysteries), and is found in the Gospels of Matthew (17:1 to 13), Mark (9:2 to 13) and Luke (9:28 to 36).

Why is the Transfiguration an important part of Jesus’ life, aside from the fact that it is an event that, like other parts of the Bible pertaining to Him, confirms His divine status as the Son of God?

It is important because the narrations of the event by Matthew, Mark and Luke indicate, with precise uniformity, that there is a “connection”, as it were, between Jesus and the prophets of old, especially the important ones like Moses and Elijah, which connection on the other hand shows the continuity of God’s directions for the salvation of man.

What these narrations do is confirm Jesus’ own statement that He came not to abolish the Law or disregard the prophets, but to uphold each one of them and make sure that people follow them.


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