Our fifth grade students were asked to write a story from a boy’s perspective on how his life changed in the space of a few minutes. Clare used a photograph of a young boy standing in the middle of rubble after the typhoon swept the Phillipines.
“Loneliness, anger, sadness, unfairness, and so many other feelings I can’t express fill my heart to the brim. It’s almost as if I don’t have any room for the good feelings that I wish I could feel again. Houses gone, family gone, friends gone, everything demolished. That dreadful typhoon passed through my home country leaving so many citizens terribly miserable and it didn’t feel at all ashamed. Typhoon Haiyan. Those two words will haunt me for the rest of my life. I didn’t believe it would actually happen, I didn’t want to.
I live in Tacloban, The Philippines, and the most terrible thing has just happened to everything that I love and need. My name is Bayani, my parents named me that because it means ‘hero’ in Filipino. I don’t like talking about my family though. You see, I always used to think about children who had lost everything. I always used to think about how I could help them or how I would feel if I had lost everything.
Then BOOM! A week ago, everything changed. I was one of those children I had always wanted to help. I had lost everything. We were just sitting down for dinner when it happened. We heard screaming voices outside and rushed out to see what could possibly be going wrong.
Then we felt it, a massive wind practically blowing me over. My two-year-old sister did blow over. I ran over to help her get up but my parents screamed at me to not worry about anyone but myself, to save my own life. I obeyed them and ran as far as I possibly could.
Here I am today with no food, no water, no family, no house, no NOTHING, except hope… but I’m falling short of that too. There has been no one that has come to help me but I’ve heard through the grapevine that help is getting closer; that the most desperate of families are already starting to be helped. I hope someone comes soon though, because I’m getting weaker and weaker every second and I don’t think I’ll be able to survive another day without food and clean water.
I’ve never felt anything CLOSE to what I’m feeling now. Before, I used to think I was sometimes sad, mad, lonely and so many other feelings but only now do I realize what these feelings really are. Loneliness feels like a deep pain in my heart that aches and longs for someone to come and be my friend. Anger boils up inside me like a pot of my Mama’s rice mixed with Adobo on our now demolished stove. Why did it have to be me? What did I ever do wrong to deserve such a punishment? Why do my parents and my little sister have to be lost and maybe even dead? Why, why, why, WHY!!!????.. All of this is mad and unfair! Sadness has never felt so bad in my life. I’m so depressed and my head is spinning trying not to think about everything and everyone that I lost. I’m miserable, everyone’s gone, everything’s gone.
I have hope, at least I have hope that I will be safe. I don’t think anyone could EVER replace my family and friends though. My only wish is to survive, but I have faith I will. I just have to keep going, keep remembering that I am a survivor, I am alive.”
By Clare, 5th grade student