Ripples of Love to Rebuild the Philippines

Her Home Damaged by Typhoon

I have been very quiet lately I know. I have been working on some things. For the last month, I have been busying raising funds for a project called “Rebuild the Philippines”. This project is part of Habitat for Humanity’s efforts to build homes for those that need it. This organization does this throughout the world and they have responded first to the massive earthquake in Bohol and now to the Typhoon Haiyan victims in Tacloban.

I have a webpage setup that was provided by Habitat for Humanity.  Anyone can do this if they desire. On this page, I am collecting donations that goes direct to Habitat for Humanity.

My first requirement for any aid organization is that it distributes their aid directly. That greatly reduces the opportunities for the aid getting misdirected into the pockets of a few wealthy and uncaring people. Nothing will eliminate all bad deeds by humans any place in the world but we can take precautions. Supporting organizations that distribute aid themselves is the way to do this.

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Globe 7.2 Tattoo Wireless Router Useless at Promo Rates?

Wireless Internet Connection Philippines

After struggling with my Internet connection for a week, I finally learn why it is so slow. It is intentionally slow. Globe’s fair use policy is too restrictive to make if of significant value to me and I think most other users will find the same to be true. Unless you’re willing to pay P1200 or over $20 a day for your Internet connection you will find that your Internet speed via Globe broadband on a mobile device is of little value for my normal Internet usage. I won’t say that it is without value, it does have some value. It especially good to have when I am away from home and in an area with Internet connectivity. Simple task like updating your MS operating system can cause Globe to bring your connection speed to a crawl.

I live in a Typhoon Haiyan affected area. Every phone line in the city was laying in the street after the storm struck. Two months later, some of the businesses do have an Internet connection but I don’t think any homes do and mine certainly does not. Thus, wireless is the only option I have. This is better than no Internet connection at all. On a side note, the Bogo City Cable company will not reopen. They site theft of services has made it unprofitable to rebuild.

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Rusty Ferguson Expat Life with Santa

Well, my monthly expat living in the Philippines journals haven’t had much in them lately because nothing is going on. Then came November of 2013 and the month of change and trauma. There has been a lot of change. Most of it brought about Typhoon Haiyan. There was also a lot of nice things that happened for me in November. In fact, this article just might surprise you. As I recall the month of November 2013, I see it as mostly happy time for me. Though difficult, it was still a good month for me to live in the Philippines. So this month, I have to something to say for my living in the Philippines expat journal.

I’m not going to rehash everything I’ve written about Haiyan but there were some good things that happened. Though Haiyan was traumatic, stressful, caused loss of life in Jessie’s family, caused extreme financial hardship and totally disrupted my life. All of this tired me, grew on my last nerve and I’m still a bit worn from all of it.

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Return to Bogo City after Exile by Typhoon Haiyan

Santa in the Philippines

On my return to Bogo City things are about what I expected them to be. Except the air conditioner is broke, it is in the shop right now costing close to $100 to get repaired. The anticipated problems with my Internet connection are one minor irritation that get larger because being alone, I have nothing to do when there is no Internet. I had hopped to see more of Jessie than I use to at home but she’d rather spend her time with her friend. Her friend that hates me and the P1900 I spent on the Globe Tattoo 7.2 router is all but a complete waste of money. Money I don’t have. I took it outside in hopes that it might work better out there but I could connect to nothing out there as well.

In case you are a new reader, I’ve spent the last five weeks in Cebu City. I went there and lived out of a hotel since a couple of days after Typhoon Haiyan made landfall in Bogo City. It was an unbelievable storm and caused major damage in Bogo City and the surrounding areas. I should mention that the damage here was much less than that in Tacloban but still significant damage in this part of the Philippines as well.

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Filipina with Santa in Cebu Philippines

Santa Claus is real and I’ve met him and even severed as one of his elves this year while in Cebu City. For a the first few days that I was in Cebu City, I often saw this eccentric looking guy walking around in the Colon and Palez Streets area. I thought to myself, great! He looks more like Santa than I do. Maybe people will stop calling me Santa Claus. They have in fact stopped calling me Santa Claus because now they’ve seen the real one. I got to know him and he’s just an awesome guy. His alias is Roy Shackelford but he rarely uses this. It is fun to hear him use the hotel lobby phone and say “Hello, this is Santa calling.”  Santa Clause is in the Philippines spreading love and good cheer to those in need. Let me tell you what I know about Santa.

Santa has been distributing joy and gifts in the Philippines for the last six years. He visits pockets of poverty in the Cebu and other areas of the Philippines. Early this week he also went to Negros Occidental to visit with people in need on that island. I’ve had the joy of going with him on two of his outings. One of the places I joined Santa was a squatters area in Mandaue City, a suburb of Cebu City. You can’t really determine where Cebu City starts and Mandaue City starts. In Mandaue we went to Sitio Aroma which is found in Barangay Subangdako.

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Mother in Homless Shelter

Can you help Jessamie and her family gets back to her home in Samar? She lives at what is considered ground zero for Typhoon Haiyan also known as Typhoon Yolanda in the Philippines. Her town, Guian, in Samar was the place where Haiyan first made landfall. Her home was completely destroyed. I met her and her family at an evacuation center in the heart of Cebu City.

Her husband was a nurse before the storm hit. I don’t think the hospital is still standing in their city. Very little was left there and I saw the mayor of the city say “I don’t know where to start” when he was referring to providing assistance and rebuilding. I have little down that community will be rebuilt though.

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Cebu City Streets are full of People with Character

Working Girl on Streets of Cebu City

Character comes in all kinds and its not always good. The streets of Cebu City provide an intriguing mix of the upper class, middle class and some with no class at all. I have been living in Bogo City in northern Cebu Province since May of 2008. I don’t come to the city all that often as it greatly increases my cost of living. When I do come, I enjoy most of the people on the streets. Cebu City streets are filled with people of all kinds of character and some of the most interesting is where you least expect it.

The only groups I don’t enjoy are the professional beggars. Now I know some are in bad need of help and I’d love to be able to help them. I usually don’t help the professionals. They tend to be a bit demanding and sometimes downright rude. I think part of their strategy is to irritate a person into giving. That’s a bad strategy to use on me.

The first time I was approached by one it was in Talisay, a suburb of Metro Cebu City. I had only been here a few days. It was a boy approaching his teenage years. I had no idea what I was giving him when I reached into my pocket to give him a coin. I picked the big one, thought it would be worth more. I later learned that I had given him one centavo which is rarely even used now. I had no idea how small of an amount it was.

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Am I Going to Disappear when I Return to Bogo City?

Sexy Filipina in Bogo City

The electricity is back on in Bogo City but Typhoon Haiyan has knocked out cable TV forever and it may be months before Internet coverage is restored.

Last night, I realized that I will have to return to Bogo City within a couple of weeks. I should probably do it now as my cost of living is too high at the moment. The electricity is on at my home again so I will have air conditioning. So what’s the problem? There is no sign of my Internet being restored any time soon. This is a distressing thought for me. I’d rather not think about it at all as its depressing.

The good news is that electricity has been resorted to large parts of Bogo City. The lights came on at my house late last week. They have been reliably on as well. The predicted frequent “brownouts” have not been seen. In the Philippines, when they say brownout, what they really mean is blackout. Its not a drop in power, those are called fluctuations. Brownouts in the Philippines are blackouts in the USA.

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Homeless Filipino in Cebu City

As most of you know, I gave up on staying in Bogo City soon after Typhoon Haiyan made landfall there. My memory from that time isn’t good. I remember feeling dazed after the storm but I don’t really understand that. I wasn’t aware of being afraid except for one brief time. I slept in Bogo City two nights after the storm. The second night was so horribly hot that I was gone before the sun set again.

I didn’t know how long I could stay in the City but at the time my goal was to stay two months. Only problem is I didn’t have the money for that. It looks like I will be here for about five weeks. I have paid for a room in a pension house and I think I have a bit more than two weeks left on that. Maybe a little longer I am not sure, The only way I’ve been able to do this is because of the generosity of eight people that have helped me out. I’m not going to mention them by name.

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Support Haiyan Victimes

There is a Google Plus telephone going on this week to help the of Typhoon Haiyan. They are doing thirty minute broadcast each day this week. Today is the final day. The main goal is to raise money for the many Haiyan refugees. Now these are all my terms for what is going on. It is officially called “Let them find the smile again!”
I love the name but Filipinos never quite smiling. The people of the Philippines are amazing in that no matter what life throws at them, they keep smiling, they remain happy. Sure they have their moments of grief and you’ve probably seen it on YouTube but most Filipinos have their moment of grief and then move right on with that is happening right now.
They are not trying to raise boat loads of cash. They are trying to raise $2000 but I want to see them get a g

ood deal more than that. I’m not asking you to contribute a dime though. All I want you to do is get on Google plus and talk about it. Share this even on Google Plus, Twitter, and Facebook.

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