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Fire Sweeps Through Neighborhood in Cebu City

March 21, 2014 – 4:58 pm
A puppy makes a meal of some leftover noodles.  It wasn't clear if the injury was a burn from the fire.

A fire broke out on Tuesday evening (March 18, 2014) in a tightly-packed residential area in Barangay Lorega in Cebu City in the Philippines. According to newspaper reports, 500 homes were destroyed, leaving as many as 7,000 people homeless. Not surprisingly, despite staying just a few blocks from this area, I was completely unaware of the calamity until a couple of days later. Disasters seem …

Newspaper Article about Body ID at Suhi

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, …

Carlo and the Japanese Journalists

December 29, 2013 – 10:24 am
This young girl was hanging out with her friends inside a truck destroyed by the typhoon

I’m not sure if I woke up as the curmudgeon or the invalid. Maybe I’m still both. I woke up to the tinny and endless sound of horrible music coming out of Guapo’s cell phone. (I’ve recently learned that the young muscly and fashionable guy with the cell phone is referred to as Guapo or “Guaps” by everyone here.) The music got worse and worse …

MSF and Antibiotics

December 28, 2013 – 10:17 am
I don't know for sure, but it might have been water from this well that made me so sick.

I DID go to the Medecins Sans Frontieres medical center yesterday, and it was a very good thing that I did. This sickness is not just a passing thing. I’ve been SOOOO sick. I’ve clearly picked up a nasty bacterial infection in my gut. What drives me crazy is not knowing where I got it from. Which dish was contaminated? At which restaurant? Which glass …

Day 37 Super Typhoon Yolanda – Mass Grave at Basper, a Concert, and Mosquito Torment

December 14, 2013 – 9:38 am
A skull and the spine of a typhoon victim at the Basper mass gravesite near Tacloban

The very first thing I did this morning (after taking a bucket bath, shaving, and battling mosquitoes) was to remove the back cover from my broken Kindle. The battery finally went dead, so I couldn’t use it to listen to music anymore. And I don’t want to throw the entire Kindle away as it is. If, by some miracle, someone were to fix it, they …

Day 36 Super Typhoon Yolanda – Odd Encounters in Seawall

December 13, 2013 – 9:36 am
This man sided and roofed his entire house with metal sheets that he tore off refrigerators and then flattened out.

It’s already the 13th of December, perilously close to Christmas. I was thinking that since it is so close, I might as well stay here in Tacloban for Christmas.  In a strange twist, the typhoon has meant that I now know more people in the city of Tacloban than in most places on the planet. I already have two invitations to spend Christmas with families. …

Day Eighteen – Super Typhoon Yolanda

November 26, 2013 – 1:42 pm
Thousands of Filipinos gather to receive their pay from the Tzu Chi Foundation

Yesterday was a day of much interest. I was supposed to go with Dan to the Bohol bicycle shop, but Dan never showed up and never contacted me. I located the Bohol bicycle shop on my own and found it closed. I spoke with one of the owners, and he spoke with a mechanic, but they wouldn’t do anything for me. They were busy cleaning …

Day Eighteen – Super Typhoon Yolanda

November 25, 2013 – 12:49 pm
Bodies waiting to be picked up in the market area in downtown Tacloban City

A city without power can be a very quiet place. Last night, the silence was so complete and for so many hours that I imagined that I had gone deaf. I made some noise from time to time to ensure that my ears still worked.
At four a.m. this morning, the sole rooster left in this part of Tacloban began his totally unchallenged (and therefore rather …