During the 12 years we lived in the Philippines, weathering the storms that hit during typhoon season became almost routine.
With advance warning we were able to fill water barrels and stock up on lamp kerosene in anticipation of days without running water or electricity.
Families in flood zones moved furnishings (including pianos) to the top floors of their houses, and students and teachers at the international school where I taught started packaging emergency bags of food rations, toiletries and medical supplies for distribution to nearby squatters whose makeshift shacks would be blown away.
The last Category 5 typhoon we experienced before returning to the States filled many of our neighbors’ homes with 21 feet of water.
In tribal areas, whole nipa hut villages were washed away. Some of our church friends with relatives in the provinces lost family members whose bodies were never found, most likely washed out to sea.
Our school faculty and student body spent weeks helping shovel three feet of mud from streets in the surrounding community and collecting debris to load onto the government dump trucks grinding through city neighborhoods.
Through the years we have witnessed incredible damage and loss of life from typhoons.
But the one that hit the Visayas, and particularly Tacloban, during the past week is the worst I’ve ever seen.
It is hard for most of us to even imagine the destructive force that has virtually destroyed that area. My thoughts and prayers are with the thousands of people who have experienced such devastating loss.
In contrast, our Texas weather has been pleasantly refreshing lately.
Nothing seems to interrupt the continual buzz of activity at the Senior Center.
On any given day you may find our participants exercising, practicing Spanish conversation or computer skills, line dancing, playing games, or enjoying any of dozens of offerings in our weekly schedule.