> News > The Tacloban Diaries Part 2

The Lighthouse Expansion

Every visit to the Lighthouse is different, the building itself is in a constant state of flux. Progress is rapid and continuous and more staff appear as and when new facilities appear. When I first visited Lighthouse two years ago, the downstairs of the main building was just an empty shell, the grounds a muddy bog, whilst the second building was just a pipe dream at that point.

Springboard and KIM have worked closely over the past couple of years and has seen Springboard Foundation donate over 1M Pesos to different building projects at the Lighthouse. 500’000 Pesos went into converting the shell of downstairs in to a library and classrooms, so children from the local area can receive an education.

500’000 Pesos went towards the construction of the second building (with the second floor being constructed as I type) which will serve as a birthing clinic, counseling center and additional classrooms. With the rate of construction, I would not be surprised if it will be completed by the time I finish typing this sentence!

An additional 160’000 Pesos was donated by Springboard Foundation to help the container with the playground equipment and computers to make their merry way from the UK to The Lighthouse. Antrak Shipping Management also helped by providing free shipping.

We are often asked how Tacloban, the town , has fared since the terrible storm.

We can recommend for anyone who would like to hear more about the night of the storm and the months thereafter to read the book “Yolanda” by William Shaw. It is a engrossing story about the lives of a few families living before the storm, through the night of the storm and the months thereafter. Contact us if you are interest to purchase a copy for just 500 Pesos.

The more visits you take to the area, the more stories you hear. In the downtown area, they had managed to set up a network of ropes to help people navigate the streets during the 5 hour long storm surge. Stories of people losing family members, stories of people returning to their shattered homes to salvage anything they can, expressing joy in finding items of sentimental value.

Standing a top of a hill overlooking the town, you begin to understand why the destruction was so bad. The land is flat with the occasional hill poking up from it, from this view point; you can see that escaping to higher ground was not an option for many.

The iconic washed up ships, are slowly being broken down and vanishing from the landscape. The bow of one ship now serves as part of a memorial not only to those who died but to those who survived and to the future.

Upon every return Tacloban is different, once a shattered city, is slowly finding it’s feet and a carving out a new identity. Numerous, small independent coffee shops and eateries are popping up all over town, all highly stylized and varied in their appearance, a café culture in waiting. A resilient population looking towards the future, defiant about the events, different businesses, Yolanda Barbers, Haiyan Café and High ‘N’ Love to name a few, flaunt the name of what nearly destroyed them.

Rebuilding public services

Despite all the progress in the area, more still needs to be done in a post Yolanda world. The students of the Daniel Z Romualdez Memorial (DZRM) Elementary School, the site of the second playground, are nearly ready to return to lessons in permanent classrooms after spending two years in tarpaulin covered temporary classrooms. It is reassuring to see some of the temporary classrooms in the process of being torn down. It does make you think, if it has taken this long to repair the physical damage, how long will it take to repair the psychological damage inflicted on so many? As the memory of Yolanda fades for most, the people of Yolanda still need your ongoing support.