When I was asked to write a blog post for the OIS blog, I initially intended to write about how I have tried to create little moments of Christmas joy in my room as I spend majority of my time within these four walls, but just a day after I was asked, Typhoon Ulysses hit my home of the Philippines.
As I write this, the Philippines has been in lockdown for two hundred forty four days. Four days ago, the country was hit with the second major hurricane within the course of two weeks. With the nation being under lockdown, the winds and rains were all faced by the people from their homes. Typhoons in the Philippines are not a rare occurrence as it seems that almost every year our phones buzz with the emergency reminders warning of the rains to come.
For the students who are privileged to be safe from harm during these natural disasters, the promise of heavy rains likens to the promise of Christmas morning as rainy days are akin to what I assume snow days are in the United States. However this time was different. It might have been due to the increased activism we have seen around the world or simply because we were stuck inside, but instead of the celebration of students due to the cancellation of classes, there was an outpour of kids taking action to support the victims of Ulysses. People calling for donations, spreading information about victims who need to be rescued from the floods, and overall taking actions that arguably the adults should have done.
To be completely honest, all semester I have felt isolated from others as I don’t leave my house all too much and everyone I do interact with is scattered all over the world, so time zones have been rough. But simply seeing how the community over here has come together, even in digital means, has been one of those moments where I have been amazed by what people can do in the digital space to reach out, engage, and support their communities.