What a wild and crazy season we have been experiencing!
I realize that I haven’t given a solid update on what’s happening with the COVID virus here in the Philippines. I’ll try to give you a snapshot of what’s happening over here.
At the time of my writing, our island has been locked down for seven weeks. This means that the barge that carries cars and passengers back and forth between Samal and Davao City (where we normally go to get groceries, for government business, immigration, etc.) has been closed to everyone except for special workers (medical personnel, military, etc.). Thankfully, there have been a couple of times when someone from our team has been able to get a one-time pass to go to the city for the purpose of banking or other important business. This has allowed us to have that person go to the ATM for us and handle banking for HFAC so that we could have personal funds and so that our staff could be paid regularly.
Most of our staff are stuck on Samal Island at this time. When the barge originally closed, it was announced that it would be for only five days. So…most of our staff decided to spend those five days at the Hope House so as to not interrupt their work schedules. Sadly, the barge has not yet reopened, so they have been stuck there for weeks now, many of them away from their families. Please pray for these amazing ladies AND pray that the barge would open again soon!
As for what’s happening here on the island, it’s really a bit of a strange scene. Before the barge was officially closed, everyone was just encouraged to stay at home and be careful when they would go out. But after the barge was closed, the government here on our little island got quite a bit stricter. Now, only one person is allowed to leave the house at a time to go out for groceries or other necessary errands. That one person must have a pass issued by the city hall with their name on it, and that person is the only one allowed to leave the house. There is only one pass allowed per house, and those without the pass are not allowed to leave! When out, the pass-holder must wear a mask at all times and present the pass at multiple checkpoints throughout the island, where they will scan it to monitor that person’s movement throughout the island. It’s wild!
So for now, we see the Hope House girls mostly through video. They are all doing very well, but they want things to get back to normal! We miss them and our staff much.
While we are ready for this lockdown to end, we do appreciate the efforts of our government to protect the people. As of today, my understanding is that there are only 250 cases of the virus in the region, and there have been only three cases on Samal Island. I’m so thankful for that.
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About Crystal Harden
Crystal has been a part of the Hope For All Children team in the Philippines since 2011. Hope For All Children is focused on four areas of injustice in the Philippines: orphans, malnutrition, human trafficking, and abortion.