It’s day two in the Visayas islands. We flew into Tacloban yesterday and drove up the coast of East Samar to Borongan where we’re staying now. On the way we stopped in the northern part of Tacloban to perform at a school. Flying in to Tacloban from Manila, we saw masses of trees missing their tops. Tim said it looked like God took a machete and lopped off every palm leaf. From the plane, the buildings looked mostly intact –some things can be deceiving from far away. Baggage check was when it really hit home for me. The airport was gutted. The lining from the conveyor belt had even been ripped away from the storm. 235 km/hour winds and a catastrophic surge swell.
As we drove through Tacloban city, the destruction continued to become more and more real. It was strange how some trees had fallen, while others remained in tact; how some buildings had fallen, others appearing unscathed. I wondered if that was also a reflection of the human spirit in the face of destruction. Since Tim had some travel issues and delays, our first performance was the first time we’d all had the chance to perform as an ensemble. We pulled into a tattered school yard and it was relatively quiet. Most of the buildings were barely standing. Tree branches and debris were everywhere. When we arrived at the school, the kids were bustling. Scared and fascinated, eager and eyes full of joy –the parents and grandparents were the same.
By the time the show ended, with Brendon nearly ten feet tall on stilts, the whole place was alive. We spent another half hour getting chased by tiny resilient bright eyed children. When we left, the kids chased the car down the road. “Goodbye, you are beautiful,” they shouted.