On a more serious note, my first weeks in Tacloban and around Leyte (in Palo and Tanauan), have been an incredibly intense experience.

It’s literally mind-blowing, to look around and see such complete and total destruction, when you think about how it happened. I mean, I can understand an earthquake. The ground shakes, and things fall down – makes sense to me.

But wind is just air, moving really fast. And I know it has force, and pressure, especially when moving at 300 kph, but it’s still just air. How can something with no substance at all topple brick walls, and reduce massive stadiums to rubble? How can wind leave so many enormous steel girders in twisted heaps amongst all the wreckage? It quite literally blows my mind, the sheer power and force of it all. People here have told me the noise was monumental – one woman told me it sounded like an airplane engine inside their house. Continue reading

Life in Leyte…

Ok, so I was trying very hard to draft some posts in vaguely chronological order, but haven’t had time to post anything much at all, and so much keeps happening every day that it’s hard to keep track, so my apologies if everything seems a bit haphazard and all out of order…

Thought I’d just give you a little taster of life over here. It feels like I’ve been here for months, mainly because when you’re working 18-hour days, so much happens between 6am and 10pm that it feels like 2 or 3 days have gone by! When I first arrived in Tacloban on a Wednesday morning, I went to a meeting with the Department of Agriculture in the morning, and then the next three days were so busy and hectic, that by the time I met with someone on Friday, I was convinced the DA meeting had been a week ago!

It’s also incredibly damp here – very humid and sticky, still raining a lot, so lots of mosquitos and pretty bad smells. The hotel we’re staying in, which also houses our office, was not too badly damaged by the typhoon, although the swimming pool was filled with manky green sludgy floodwater that appears to be breeding mosquitos and frogs at a frightening pace. It’s been mostly drained and cleaned out, but still has a sludgy greenish puddle at the bottom. Continue reading