Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Dear 2020

Dear 2020,

I know we started off on the wrong foot, but things got better on the second week. A page turned and I felt I was ramping back up. It took me a month to get to that level. I was so happy about it I made an effort to go out with my son for a fun Sunday date. After hearing mass and having lunch I read about the Taal volcano eruption. I thought about buying additional supplies, masks and an air filter and actually passed by those stores to check, but it did not occur to me that the ash would reach us.

Things started going downhill when the mall had a brownout while we were waiting for our ride. Then ten minutes into our ride I had an asthma attack. It was when I looked at the sun when I realized I should have focused on preparing for what was going to come. When we got home we immediately harvested our laundry from the roofdeck and closed all the windows. We even covered the aircon to prevent ash from coming in and Miggy said we shouldn't use the aircon that night.

The ash started falling just after sunset. We had settled in the living room to listen to the news and I called my Mom to warn her about the ash fall. I couldn't sleep because I was having a hard time breathing. I wore a mask and eventually dozed off. I woke up early the next morning and immediately checked our balconies through the glass door.

The ash fall wasn't as bad as I thought it would be (I experienced the 1991 Pinatubo ash fall). Checked the news and Phivolcs announcements, looked for ways I could help and checked on Mom. I had to remind her not to go out because she mentioned she did some gardening that morning! She mentioned that the roof was cleaned up already and they only got a pail-full of ash (it was 5 sacks in 1991).

It was a huge struggle for me since I have severe asthma, but I can't imagine the pain of those severely affected. I had to find other ways to help since I had to retire from doing crisis response because of my health. It was frustrating, but I knew I had to take care of myself so I don't get sick. That same week news about the novel corona virus was ramping up. I also started monitoring it since we were due to fly to Singapore. The issue blew up the week we were set to go back to Singapore. It's a huge concern for me because I previously caught the other virus back in 2001 (passed on to me by family who flew in).

Prior to the eruption there was the issue in Iran, the worst locust invasion in Africa in the last 70 years and many other issues. January hasn't even ended yet and it feels like the whole year has passed already. I've been doing a lot of reading and I can't help by compare how other countries have been managing issues. Sadly in the Philippines the leaders are more focused on other things and they have been making decisions that are not pro-Filipino. It's truly heartbreaking and I pray things will change since a lot of Filipinos depend on the government for help.

So dear 2020, I hope things will be better in February because honestly I'm looking forward to 2021 already. Please help pray also for all the doctors, medical personnel, police/military, volunteers and everyone helping in these calamities. That they may have strength to help more people. 

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