Members of the Rotary Club of Chicago-Far North, Illinois, USA, take part in a peace meeting with Filipino Rotarians during a two-week visit in February. Photo by Edouard Pierre
By Carol Cory, president of the Rotary Club of Chicago Far North, Illinois, USA
Gathered by the river in Iligan City, Philippines, my team of three Rotarians and four volunteers watched as 3,000 candles floated in the air, one in commemoration of each of the men, women and children who died as a result of the December flash flooding caused by a typhoon.
A candlelight ceremony in Iligan City, Philippines, commemorates the men, women, and children who died in flooding in December. Photo by Edouard Pierre
Earlier in the day, we had toured the devastation, and heard heart-wrenching stories of loss. We carried basic school supplies, clothing, and food to those in need, and took part in an ecumenical prayer service involving a bishop, a Muslim imam, and a local religious leader.
A young mother shared her pain at the loss of her children, but in her grief expressed hope for a better future. It was the most poignant example of the way the community has been coming together following the tragedy, and the work being done by the Bayanihan Foundation, which we were there to support.
Our team was on a two-week trip organized by the Rotary clubs of Chicago Far North and Iligan, Philippines, in support of the Bayanihan Foundation, an organization founded by a Rotarian “to enable Filipinos to improve their lives in empowering and sustaining ways.” Dale Asis, a native Filipino living in Chicago, had the opportunity to return to his homeland during a fellowship in 2007. Witnessing the poverty, plight, and tension between Muslims and Christians, he was determined to do anything he could to help. Continue reading