Resilience is the first word that comes to mind when I think of the residents of Tacloban in the central Philippines.
Three years ago this month, they survived the strongest storm ever, as recorded at landfall. Typhoon Haiyan killed 10,000 people in the Philippines and left tens of thousands homeless there. A few months after the storm wreaked havoc, I spent a week getting to know some of the survivors and the people helping them rebuild their homes: a woman swept away by a wave who hoped her mother and son were alive; a woman who cried when, post-typhoon, she found her house filled with debris; and a shelter engineer dedicated to rebuilding sturdier homes. Everyone seemed so strong and determined, but I know they struggled. As I interviewed people, I often thought about how I would respond in their situations, what I would hope for and dream of. No more storms? Impossible. Stronger homes? Yes. My community around me, helping me through a difficult time? Absolutely.
This video I produced for the one-year anniversary of the typhoon shows a bit of how people helped each other in the typhoon’s aftermath. A man repairs holes in a corrugated steel roof. Another man helps kids fix and raise up an outdoor basketball hoop. I wonder how everyone I met in the Philippines is doing now. The country continues to be pummeled by strong typhoons. Is everyone still resilient and helping each other? I hope so.