Leyte: Another People Cried Dry
I've written in this blog of living in the Philippines. Of the scent of the tropics, that drowning-in-whiteflower scent I can't duplicate. Of the damp heat, and the lizards on the ceilings, and the house in which we lived, behind a wall. And the nuns of my school, and my plaid school uniform, and the briefcase the three-foot-tall me toted to class every day.
I'm not sure I talked about the overwhelming poverty I remember of that just post-war time. Of the Americans who had too much and weren't sensitive to the wealth disparity in that neo-colony. The US military who seemed to be the main industry in that hot, green, floridly floral place. The poverty. The cardboard shanties, with corrugated metal roofs. The half-naked children running on the dirt roads of villages-within-Manila.
And you know, this is all sensory, real and imagined. All I actually remember is sorrow and amazement that kids my age had so little. And then I'm sure I turned away, or was turned away, and thought of different things.
Today, one holiday we spent in Baguio is bringing to mind the Leyte disaster. It's further north, but the same type of country, I think. Green, hilly -- maybe not quite as tropical, with more temperate weather.
Leyte played an important role in the Pacific theatre of WWII: "... in 1944, the Battle of Leyte Gulf, the biggest naval battle between the Americans and the Japanese in world history, transpired in Leyte. General Douglas MacArthur, at the head of an army of more than 250,000 men, waded ashore on the island at Red Beach, Palo, Leyte. This marked the end of the Japanese Imperial Army and, eventually, the second World War." [information from the Republic of the Philippines]
And today the Philippines province of Leyte is one more natural disaster from which people who already had next to nothing are digging out.
If you have any more good wishes and hopeful thoughts to spend, send them to Leyte. They need them now. God help them.