Tuesday, December 10, 2013
The Nutshell: We arrived at the Manila Airport among chaos and confusion. The lines were long through customs for both visitors and natives (Filipinos and non-Filippinos). We had a 2 year old with us and he was champ throughout the process-flying and customs. He was tired and hot, but he didn't complain much at all. All of us were tired but we managed to survive the worst of it.
Once we got our bags we spent a while trying to locate my folks. Turns out, we were on two different levels-the confusion got sorted out and we went down the ramp and found them through the crowds. There were hugs and tears in the reunion and thankfully, they had brought some help from the hotel and they helped load up the van. The welcomed relief actually came once we got into the vehicle though-as it had air conditioning. In the short time we were outside we had already broken a sweat-as it was over 90 degrees plus humidity (we had four large and heavy bags along with smaller bags and two backpacks). Once we got to the hotel, we had some munchies, chatted some, and then we all went to bed. We all slept in and then enjoyed a late breakfast (10:30am). Our first day here we went to the Mall of Asia-it is huge! We did some shopping-we purchased a transformer (to convert their 220-240 to 110 for our equipment-cellphones, laptop, camera, and leap pad). Once we got back, I decided to read the plugs and found out that we have dual voltage chargers-that can handle 110-240. So I felt silly, but soon realized that Noah's leap pad isn't able to be charged on anything over 110. So all is not lost as we still have a need for it.
Finally, we are grateful for everyone who helped get us there-through donations, thoughts, and prayers. On behalf of my parents and my family...thank you all! So far in our reunion we have had conversations about the future and my parents have a couple of options. We hope to help them solidify their decision/next step in the coming days. We were also made aware that many people are stuck here in Manila with no way to get home-as they don't have any money to return home (whether it be Cebu, Tacloban, Samar, or Guiian). Some of those folks are actually family members and we're currently trying to figure out and coordinate how to get them back home to rebuild (many of them are here as they took safety to escape the destruction).
There is still a lot of work to be done here-everywhere you go, there are folks asking for money (some on behalf of organizations like the Red Cross and others as individuals). Continue to pray for the people of the Philippines as they have a long road ahead of them-some more than others, especially those who aren't from Manila or any of it's suburbs.