This was my first project so I was pretty green. I met a Baptist Pastor outside an internet shop one day whose church had been completely destroyed in the Typhoon. He asked for my help. About a week later he found the place I was staying and handed me a list of 70 families who had not received any emergency shelter materials after the Typhoon. These shelter kits consisted of 10 pieces of sheet iron, nails and a hammer.
Even now months later I’m still unsure as to why some families received materials and others did not. Rumour has it you had to be registered to vote. Suggestions were made that the shelter kits never existed in the first place, but then I did meet families who did receive materials. It seems still to be a question that no one can or will answer.
Ok so the Pastor and I decided to create a short-term aid program where I asked my family, friends and associates to sponsor the building materials for a family. I calculated that $75AUD would house one family. I then promised to stay in Estancia another 4-5 weeks so I could personally work with the pastor to buy the materials and hand them out.
I promised to send photos of each and every family back to their Australian/International sponsor so they would have a personal connection along with my personal guarantee that their funds had been spent 100% in the correct place.
The people were (and in many cases still are) living in tents, rubble, pieces of wood, anything really. The shelter kits were definitely needed.
The Pastor and I visited a construction company and secured a price for the materials. The first kit was purchased and loaded onto a tricycle. Even though it was only three months ago (March 2014) that the first delivery was made, it seems like a lifetime ago. I was overwhelmed by what I saw, by the gratitude of the people and by the strong faith in God in answering their prayers.
We made deliveries to 6 households with shelter kits. They were very grateful. However some local government officials became upset and setup check points near where we delivered some of the materials. This effectively placed both myself and the Pastor in danger and I was advised to cease delivering aid in this manner.
It was definitely a learning experience especially the daily line-up to get money from the ATM in the blistering heat. At the time there was no electricity so the ATM was powered by a generator and the machine would reset anytime. Two (2) hours in the queue was not uncommon.
Overall Costs (AUD $500) 60 pieces of sheet iron, 6 kilos of nails, 6 hammers, tricycle hire, ATM fees, and international currency conversion fees.