A 14 hour flight from Vancouver's YVR to Manila may start you thinking a piece of gum would be nice to clear out the cobwebs. Thanks to a certain sleeping aid I was well rested and feeling ready for the long day ahead. However, In polite conversation with the gentleman in the aisle waiting to disembark the plane I learned that he was a Filipino living in Saskatoon. Seems to me most Filipinos are gentle people with nurturing ways. He asked where I was going. Tacloban, I answered. 'You are going to help? Thank you.', he correctly assumed.
I explained about TWECS (Third World Eye Care Society), the container full of supplies and donations of relief goods shipped over and and the glasses the eye team is already dispensing. Then I learn that he has lost 19 family members due to the catastrophe. He didn't know the last time he Skyped his cousin, would be the final time they would speak to each other. His people were simply 'wiped away' by Yolanda never to be found again.
It is my understanding that they have recovered a great number of bodies but not having identified them, no one really knows who has been found. Furthermore there is a pressing question as to whether the government has underestimated the count for their own monetary gain. (So the UN does not take over).
Just before I head down the stairs in the opposite direction as he is going, he runs up to me and says, 'Here please take this. It is hard to find here. Thank you again for your help.'
It is 3 packs of chewing gum.