Inabanga and Buenavista were towns that have been seen heavy damages after Odette’s onslaught on December 16. Tzu Chi Foundation reached these places to spread love and compassion to all victims of the super typhoon. Tzu Chi volunteers from Manila flew to Bohol to show help and support in spreading the seeds of love. On January 10 to 12, four teams trekked in different barangays in the said towns to give rice assistance.

In Inabanga, Bohol, a total of 2,524 beneficiaries from 12 barangays; Ondol, Sto. Niño, Lawis, Lomboy, Dagnawan, Cambitoon, Bahan, San Jose, Sua, Saa, Riverside, and Ma. Rosario which considered as the badly affected barangays received 20-kilo rice assistance from Tzu Chi.

One of the recipients is Alvera Hostañane, from Lawis, Inabanga, Bohol. The team observed her weeping of her eyes as Brother Michael Siao give an inspirational message to everybody. Then, approached her and ask the story behind her tears.

“Fishing is our means of income before, but after typhoon Odette made a great impact and damages in our place, everything turns into nothing. Odette destroyed our house and we don’t have a home anymore,” said Alvera, as she can’t curb her tears from falling.

“I want to extend my heartfelt thanks to the Tzu Chi Foundation for reaching our place. Thank you for this rice aid, this could mean a lot for us to reduce our hunger,” she added.

“To all Odette victims, may we always have the faith and hope in this hard time. Let us move on and do what needs to be done in order to survive.” Alvira said, as she also wanted to inspire others.

Brother Michael Siao, an active volunteer from Manila, also gave his love, time, and effort to give inspiration to everyone during the program.

(Insert Chinese interview of Brother Michael Siao)

The other team also travelled to the town of Buenavista to give aid. There were five barangays including Asinan, Hunan, Cruz, and its island; East Cabul-an, and West Cabul-an.

A 69-year old from Hunan, Buenavista, Bohol was very thankful for this opportunity to receive help.

“I am Elioteria Añana, I have 6 children, my husband’s work is fishing, and this is our only source of income. Thank you so much Tzu Chi for this relief given to us.” stated Añana.

Another recipient is Ramonito Torrenueva who lives in Barangay Cruz, Buenavista, Bohol. Ramonito is now separated with his wife bringing his 2 children under his wife’s custody. He was a former fisherman, but after Odette, his source of income turns into farming.

“I am very much glad for this rice assistance as this can help us in our daily consumption. Thank you so much Master Cheng Yen, thank you for this relief we received!” said Torrenueva.

Tzu Chi volunteers focused on the relief operation to the island of Buenavista during its second day of rice distribution. The team reached the island for about 40 minutes using pump boats as means of sea transportation.

Recipients from the island were very welcoming as Tzu Chi volunteers touched the place. Seeing their lives as financially challenged after their place reached by the sea level became one of the reasons why Tzu Chi courageously help the spot. Most houses were left ruined, pump boats were damaged, and it affects their daily livelihood opportunities.

One of the beneficiaries who touches our hearts upon conducting the interview is Salvadora Tabigue, 77 year-old from Easter Cabul-an. Her house was ruined by the typhoon and now living on her son’s home.

“I am very lucky that I am also chosen to be given aid from Tzu Chi. I don’t have my family with me. My husband passed away and I am living alone. I have a married son who is a fisherman and I myself also relies on my son’s income giving me small amount of money and food for me to survive,” Tabigue said.

“Without this help from Tzu Chi, we don’t have rice to cook, no food, and is always starving. Thank you for the help Tzu Chi Foundation!” She thankfully added.

In Buenavista, a total of 1,736 beneficiaries from five barangays were given 20-kilo rice assistance from the Tzu Chi Foundation.

All the recipients, both from mainland and the island were very grateful for there are people who reached them and gave aid during this struggling time. Upon heeding their homes, the team observed optimistically smiles on their faces despite of the challenges they are facing.