- Posted December 19, 2011 by
Dumaguete City, Philippines
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Philippine Floods Destroy Bride's Home Hours Before Her Wedding
Flash floods in the Philippines following Tropical Storm Washi have left more than 100,000 people homeless. None, however, have lost their home in as compelling a way as did Lilian and Edward Ferrer, whose modest dwelling and nearly all their life's possessions were washed away just hours before their wedding.
As a friend of the newlyweds I attended the wedding Saturday night here in Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental Province. The bride appeared quite subdued. I chalked it up to nerves, or to her disappointment that so many invited guests - including the bride's father - weren't able to attend. They cut off from the wedding site by raging waters and downed bridges. Others couldn't attend since they needed to attend to their homes - flooded with water and mud, destroying everything inside.
Little did I and other guests know that the Bride was subdued also because the home that the couple was about to occupy had been swept away by a raging torrent just hours before. Imagine - the joy of the happiest day of your life, combined with the heartache of no longer having a home - or anything else - to return to.
Nevertheless, not wanting to spoil the celebrations, she and her groom didn't tell me or most other guests of their predicament, putting on brave faces for their friends and loved ones. They may not even had told the officiating pastor, who himself was delayed for three hours following the wash-out of a bridge near his home. Roughly 100 of Lilian and Edward's 200 guests failed to make it to the wedding due to the floods.
"It's ok, they're just things," said Lilian the next day, referring to all that she'd lost. She and Edward were spending the first day of their "honeymoon" digging out her Suzuki motorbike, buried in river sand and mud. "We still have each other," she said. Fortunately, she had spent the night of the flood at her wedding site, miles away, preparing for the festivities. If not for this, she would likely have been swept by the waters to her death.
Ironically, Lilliane works for International Care Ministries, an NGO that fights poverty among the Phillipines' ultra poor. Little did she know that she herself would be affected so severely, on the most joyful day of her life, by the poor conditions that she herself battles every day to defeat.
(I serve as Asia Director of Cross International, an international NGO that fights poverty worldwide (www.crossinternational.org), helping International Care Ministries and other Cross partners as they assist people to recover from the floods).