Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Refugee Living 101

Well I thought I had seen close living quarters before when I visited the Mountain Trek Team but little did I know what was in store for the month of July.

Team Mountain Trek has been given a transitional house, which are temporary homes given to people that had their homes destroyed beyond repair in the typhoon, until their permanent homes can be built. The sad thing is that the construction force here is so small and the work is so slow that many of these people have been living in these transitional homes for 2 years and must still wait for a habitable, permanent home to be built.

These transitional homes are small, and when I say small I mean that the entire home: living room, bedrooms, and kitchen are smaller than the average American living room. The water supply here is strictly regulated and it costs for every bucket of water you retrieve for bathing, washing dishes, and cooking. The clean water that’s available to drink is the same way and there have been instances when they just haven’t had any brought to the community so everyone has to go without drinking water until it’s finally delivered. There is no electricity so that mean no fans and these homes easily turn into a glorified sweatbox. One for the girls and one for the guys because they just can’t all fit in one solitary home.

God has been good though and each night before we go to sleep one of us pray aloud and we always include a prayer for God to take the rats out of our living area and where we sleep.

God has provided each night and we have never been bothered except for the occasional wake up call in the middle of the night when they like to make a racket. Day by day it actually seems to be getting better and we are all sure that God has been steadily shooing them away from our home. We may hear them a lot during the night but it’s a rare thing to see them now.

What really gets us though is the fact that we may be living here for 2 more weeks but these people here have been living like this for 2 years and will continue to do so until their permanent homes are finished: which could quite possibly be a couple more years to come. And yet despite the deplorable living conditions these people remain steadfast and strong in the face of life’s hardships. They smile and laugh and work hard, never giving up hope for a better tomorrow. They welcome us into their homes and are always kind and generous. We receive advice and help from the people around us and we would never have been able to figure out how to live out here with out their support.

Nora, the woman who is in charge of the water supply allowed the team to fill up their buckets with water at 7pm because they hadn’t known it’s not allowed after 6pm and she saw them struggling.

The team has built relationships already in just this past week. We pray these will only strengthen as time passes. They’ve even been able to put together a group to have Sunday worship services together.

Pray for the team’s safety and perseverance. 
Pray for the people that live here and in other transitional homes. Pray for a swift switch to permanent homes and their wellbeing, physically and spiritually.