Monday, September 28, 2009

Stranded in DLSU-Manila (thanks to Ondoy) - part 3

Continuation from part 2.

For the kids
Looking down from the choir loft, I saw a big number of kids (my guess: 100 8-12 y/o kids) sitting on the church pews. Kuya Aldrin from the LSPO told me later that there was a cultural presentation featuring kids from LASSO-supervised schools. Since LASSO has national scope, there were kids and parents from provinces all over the country. The event was to end at 430pm, but they tried to rush the event to end at 1 so that the kids can go home. But it was too late.

One of the kids looked up at me and smiled. I greeted him, and walked away. Now that everyone is all cozy (to some degree - students in the choir loft, Tim in a room charging his computer and phone), I decided to go down and offer what assistance I can give.

Trying to help
This was hard since everyone was busy. I tried walking around with SC President Aimee Chua and learned that everyone has to go to LS Building since power may go out at the other buildings soon. Some of the buildings were already cleared but some weren't. ROTC/Security/Janitors were enlisted to help out in this area.

I ran into Engr Oliva and asked him if DLSU can do something to lessen the flooding, like removing some covers and the like. He said there's nothing DLSU can do for the moment.

The water level at ground floor of the LS building is beginning to rise, so the volunteers tried to get people upstairs to the main Chapel at the 2nd floor. I tried to help out in this area. That proved to be a challenge.

For one, the TV that supplied critical news was in the ground floor. The food supply was in the ground floor. The water levels were still tolerable. Some people were dead worried about their cars and were hesitant to go up. Many people were still waiting for a friend before they would go up. But eventually, people moved up. I went back to the third floor.

At the third floor, volunteers were beginning to lay out mattresses for people to sleep. Priority were the kids. I tried to help move the church pews to clear out space - man they were so heavy. Then we laid out the mattresses in a close, tight fashion. Even the narrow passageways had mattresses. The kids were the priority, and they occupied the mattresses farthest from the edge of the loft.

I was sweating profusely. Thank God a LEADERS student (I forgot your name - sorry!) provided me an extra shirt. I kept the shirt for later use.

I went down to the 2nd floor and saw a group of student volunteers huddling around Br Armin. It seems some students are still in the Br Andrew building, and someone to go get them. I joined this group - there were 19 of us in total.

While walking, I asked John Bellosillo what we're supposed to do. Escort the students and Admin folks from the Br Andrew Bldg to LS, and we had to wade through the floodwaters. Gulp - I was wearing slacks and a dark blue Chuck Taylor. Never mind - it'll dry out anyway. So we went to the Br Andrew bldg and upon getting there my pants and shoes were soaked. Why wouldn't it be, the water was knee deep in some areas.

I found out that there was a cancer survivor staying in Br Andrew. She wouldn't leave because she doesn't want to get wet. We understood, got her number, and left her with the guards. She was a professor.

On the way back, I noticed how dirty the water was. In the SJ area, a newspaper folded and twisted like candy floated... I wonder what was inside that newspaper.

Dinner + Movies!
There was a very long line when I got back to the LS Bldg. People waiting in line for dinner. Afterwards, I cleaned my feet and shoes with the handsoap in the CR, but of course it still is not good enough. There was no medikit available so I had to ask around for alcohol. I finally got one (c/o Jill. I was actually looking for the kind mother who shared her alcohol with me a few hours ago but I couldn't find her) and rubbed alcohol on my feet generously, and changed my shirt. Then I went to line up for dinner, while chatting with the guard in front of me. A friend told me dinner can still be bought at the canteen so I just went down. (Previous population estimate was at 450 people, however the count was wrong - there were at least 1050 people! I chose to buy dinner so that someone else can eat for free.)

It was around 8pm already. Some students had occupied the classrooms and turned them into moviehouses. I was able to watch Love Actually (nice movie), The Unborn (good scary movie - but not as good as Rec or Inside), and The Proposal (the guard cut us off, as it was already 1am then!) I was also able to inform people that entering sndvol32.exe via Start->Run will display the Master Volume controls. :)

I tried to sleep at around 130am but it's quite hard, since my feet were still... uncomfortable and it's really hard to sleep while sitting!

Part 4 is here.
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