Just from the other side of the San Juanico bridge in Leyte, lives a man named Oscar, a local resident of Samar. After Typhoon Haiyan ripped through the Philippines destroying over 1.1 million homes, he responded to the needs in his community. Despite the aftermath conditions and turmoil that surrounded him, he was optimistic and decided he would find a way to serve.
Having been part of All Hands Volunteers’ projects before, Oscar recently joined our Streetlight Program in Hernani as a carpenter. Every morning he bikes to work and cheerfully goes to great lengths to ensure the team has everything they need. He and his soninlaw plane mass pieces of wood needed for rebuild and he even frequently brings guava and papaya from his garden for volunteers on site.
Day by day we witness the unique transformation in the community that Oscar has fostered. We realize, it doesn’t take a fleet of rocket scientists to fly in and fix problems after a disaster; but rather, it takes someone just like Oscar. If you give someone like him the tools and training, opportunities for real sustainable change come alive.
Oscar’s impact doesn’t end here. Oscar has a son, Gerald, who recently attended culinary school. Once Gerald graduated and heard about the suffering was in Nepal due to the earthquake, he decided to follow in his father’s footsteps and joined All Hands Volunteers – but this time, in Nepal. Oscar says, “This is the life I have always dreamed of for my son.”
We are so grateful for Oscar’s vivid and inspiring example of someone who has given of himself, even when facing the greatest crisis of his life. He has reminded us that one person’s commitment truly can change the world.