Home » All, Philippines, Philippines Bike Trip 2013, Super Typhoon Yolanda

Newspaper Article about Body ID at Suhi

Submitted by on December 31, 2013 – 10:51 am

Not to be a broken record, but it rained – hard – all last night. I woke up to a flooded room again and my first task was to take a towel and clean up. There is always so much water that I can’t just mop up the water. I use the towel like a squeegee and push waves of water toward the bathroom. Luckily, there is no lip there and the water can run right into the bathroom and then go down into the drain in the floor. The sun is shining right now, oddly enough, but that won’t last. It will surely start to rain again soon. In any event, the sun hasn’t caused any kind of burst of energy in me. I woke up still sick, and I’m reluctant to go far from the bathroom. This is discouraging because this is Day 4 of my anti-biotic treatment. You’d think that if the antibiotics were working, I’d be diarrhea-free by now. You never know. Maybe a digestive miracle is on the horizon. Even if this gut infection goes away, I’ll still be left with the constant low-grade diarrhea that haunts my life. I suppose in the long, long list of horrific physical ailments one can have, this one is fairly minor. Still, it is a giant pain in the …. And it has a fairly major effect on your life. I keep imagining that there is a miracle food or substance or pill out there that, when combined with your diet, instantly dries up your digestive system and makes everything work right. If there is such a thing, I’ve never heard of it. And if it existed, there certainly wouldn’t be such a vast Internet presence of fellow IBS sufferers out there. Luckily, I have my grim sense of humor to comfort me. I imagine all the great people of history and how they spent 90% of their time contemplating deep and significant and important and weighty things. I wonder how they would have functioned if they spent 90% of their time thinking about where the next toilet might be and monitoring the state of their bowels.

Yesterday was spent largely at Hayward. It has become my second home and I feel almost a member of the family. Cristina is a lovely and warm and generous woman with powerful motherly instincts, and she is taking good care of me – like I’m her son, though a son that is considerably older than she is. Her daughter is cute and impish and nice and interesting and full of fun. In the end, I think my pleasure at the thought of going to Hayward comes more from seeing the daughter than anyone else. This makes sense because she speaks English well, and we share a lot of cultural ground. Her parents are interesting and very nice and I’m much closer in age to her parents than to her, but I have more in common with the daughter.  One day, for example, Manny said something about the stupid cartoons that she watches all the time and how dumb they are. I took a stab in the dark and asked her if he was talking about “Adventure Time.” She was delighted that I knew about Adventure Time and she was even happier when I told her that I thought Adventure Time was a very good show. It was far more than just a kid’s cartoon. It had a range of imagination that you rarely see. It’s a very special show. She was glad to hear me say that and said that other people thought she was retarded for watching it. But it’s clear that these other people just didn’t get it. We also shared a love for Miyazaki’s movies, such as “Spirited Away” and “Howl’s Moving Castle.” I was astonished that anyone here had even heard of those movies. We’ve also chatted about our favorite Pixar movies.

I spent an hour or two at Hayward in the morning. Then I returned to the increasingly-depressing pension house and my room. Cristina very, very kindly had given me a few packages of the Japanese version of MREs. (The departing Japanese consular staff had given them crates of these meals.) You simply tear open the envelope, add boiling water, seal it with the ziplock seal, wait a few minutes and eat. I had a package of instant carbonara when I got back to the pension house and it was glorious. A taste sensation. And I was so happy that it was easy to make. I also have two packages of white rice with a curry sauce and a kind of fried rice with meat. I might have that fried rice with meat for breakfast this morning. It will save me the effort of foraging for food outside somewhere.

I spent some time resizing some photos from the early days of the typhoon. Manny now had a limited Internet connection and he said that I could use it any time. So I chose a few photos from my first memory card and resized them. When I returned to Hayward late yesterday afternoon, I used their laptop to upload a few pictures to Facebook. It was a frustrating experience because the laptop has a touchpad, and for the life of me, I can’t figure out how to use those things. They’re dangerous, actually. I always end up clicking and clicking and dragging when I don’t intend to, and do all kinds of things on the computer that I don’t intend to do. I have no idea how anyone uses a touchpad or even why anyone would. Guess I don’t have the knack. I must be “heavy-fingered.”

Because of the touchpad, it took me a long time to upload just a few pictures, and I ended up staying for dinner. They had Knorr corn soup, rice, and a type of fried pork. It’s easy to see why there are health problems in the Philippines. Even this relatively affluent family eats almost nothing but rice and meat. If even I notice the absence of fruit and vegetables, you know something is wrong.

I had to walk back to the pension house in a massive downpour of rain. Very depressing. The security guard let me in after I knocked. Then came the obligatory and increasingly sad period of time spent in the bathroom. It’s the worst at night because of the mosquitoes. On top of the stomach problems, I then have to endure an hour of my feet and back and legs and arms being almost on fire from the effects of all the mosquito bites. I don’t know why they affect me so strongly, but they always have. The mosquito saliva produces not just an itchy welt but a broad and intense allergic reaction all over the limb where the bite occurred.

I listened to a podcast from This American Life and then went to sleep. That was the day.

I bought a paper at one point. I just read an article a minute ago about the body processing in Tacloban. It’s interesting to read something in the media that you’ve seen personally. The politican in question categorigally denies that there are 1,400 bodies still rotting on the ground awaiting identification. I was at the site myself and I saw the bodies myself. I even calculated their number at about 1,400. So I actually know the truth and know the politician is lying. It’s an interesting thing. One always is pretty sure that this or that politician is lying. But you don’t often have your own personal proof. It feels a bit like Winston Smith in the novel 1984. For one brief moment, he held a piece of paper that confirmed the truth of a story and showed that everything the government said was a lie. It was a rare and powerful moment for him.

The article quotes wire stories saying that there were 1,400 bodies rotting on the ground. So a journalist of some kind had done exactly what I did – gone out to Suhi and seen the bodies rotting on the ground and probably took pictures of them. Then they wrote the article and published it. The journalist reported the truth. And yet it has absolutely no effect. The government personnel responsible for that simply denies it. And that is the end of it. The average person reading the article wouldn’t know who to believe or what the truth is.

I also find it interesting that the article goes on about the identification process and how it involves DNA, fingerprints, and dental records. And it is all a giant farce. Yet, there it is in print. In the end, it just makes me sad. All this nonsense in newspapers and from the government. It also helps me to realize why journalist would get so jaded and so cynical. This is perhaps my first exposure to this sort of thing and it isn’t just a vague sort of feeling that what the government says and what you read in the media can’t be trusted. It is full-blown 100% knowledge that it is all wrong and false and lies. It’s pretty clear that you can’t believe anything unless you see it with your own eyes. That is the only evidence that really counts for anything. So if you spend your life reading newspapers and watching the news to find out what is going on in the world, you are just living in a fantasy world.

It also makes me think that there is HUGE value in something like a blog. This very day, I could ride out to Suhi, see the bodies again and take some pictures and then publish that on my blog. “This is what I saw today.” It would be the clear truth.


The Generator Runs at Night
Mango Shake at Alejandro's

Tags: , , , , , ,

Talk to me. I'd love to hear what you think.