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Hope rises for teen who saw destruction in homeland

Typhoon Yolanda, also known as Typhoon Haiyan, was a devastating cyclone that hit the Philippines in November. The moment that the news of this tragedy went viral, I knew that this calamity was unlike any other that I have ever seen or experienced before. I was watching my childhood home being destroyed, down to dirt. For me, that home is an abstract painting of all the memories of the happiest and most carefree stage of life. Its foundation was comfort, stability and family, and the roof that covered everything was love. It’s true that home is where the heart is, and as I watched my childhood home fall apart, so did my heart.

My family and I were fortunate enough to live in the part of the country where typhoons usually didn’t attack to the point of destruction. I still have many relatives who live there. The local news always covered such unfortunate places where the flooding was so deep that there were people waving from their roofs and some using little boats to maneuver their way around the land otherwise known as their neighborhood. Some typhoons were so strong that pieces of those tiny, plastered houses all squeezed together flew in the air because of the wind. In the wake of the typhoons’ devastation, people lose their home, source of income and loved ones. The most heart-wrenching part of every merciless typhoon is the injuries and death tolls that no amount of money in this world could repair.

The photos and videos of people struggling are so difficult to watch. It’s hard to fathom how something as beautiful and magical as Mother Nature could harm innocent beings. There wasn’t anything anyone could have done to stop Yolanda. All there was to do was wait until she passed by. Waiting meant watching the numbers of dead, injured or homeless rise to an amount I couldn’t stomach. However, there also were images that lifted my spirits up and made me remember a special reason to believe and have faith.

One morning several years ago before I moved from the Philippines to the United States in 2007, our living room was flooded and next thing I knew I was making paper boats with my grandparents. The little girl in me didn’t even realize the inconvenience that the typhoon had caused. Despite any tragedy, it always stood out in my mind that my grandparents never forgot to smile. After the recent typhoon, I saw photographs of children playing and making the best out of what was given to them. They found a reason to smile and entertain themselves in the midst of all the chaos. It’s such a beautiful thing to see and be a part of.

There is no doubt in my mind that they will rebuild like they always have. I can’t help but give the utmost respect and gratitude to everyone who has given a helping hand to a country in need that’s very special to me because it’s my home. The world may be full of anger and sadness, but in circumstances like this, I have to believe there will always be a balance of goodness.

Sydney Berbano is a senior at Hutchinson Central Technical High School.