Coming from the renovation work in Sulu, I head next to Cotabato City where I will be met by the head of the NGO partner I will be working on this project - the same person I met back in Manila and told me the story of the bakwits.
Upon meeting, I was told to do an occular inspection first for the following day for me to know what to expect when we do the actual feeding. And since she can't personally be there, she will be sending me some of her colleagues to assist me.
The following day, we went to the remaining evacuation centers in Datu Saudi Ampatuan in Maguindanao. Apparently, by this time, the bakwits (evacuees) in Mamasapon have been cleared to get back home.
The odd thing is the evacuation centers are right next to the highway, and probably just 200meters away from the clash sites; just that close. A lot of the evacuees are afraid to go home as some of them are picked up by the armed forces and are accused of being part of the "Freedom" fighters. The trauma is another. Likewise, some of the people who setup a temporary shelter in the sites are not exactly affected by the recent clash, but they do so to get some rations from the various organizations who come to donate.
So, the night of the same day, I went on to do the grocery work, while the staff of the NGO partner volunteered to head early to the wet market for the meat.
When we met the following day, I was surprised to be told that the chicken price was P280 a kilo. I asked some of my friends from the area, and has never gone high as that price. The staff made some good money for herself apparently, and it pains me how many more people, or how many more meals we could have served to the evacuees for that money.
I kept my cool though; after all, I am using them as a resource.
Then we head on to the sites; we fueled up along the way and they were asking to fill the tank. We just filled up the other car we used the other day and used less than a fourth of the fuel, and here we are again, but again, I kept my cool.
Then, it was time to pay. I could see on the display that the tank filled at P700 something, but these staff were asking P1500. I asked why P1500 when the display is showing only P700, and clueless to what to explain, they said, it is for later.
I did not have any problem if the money goes back into the NGO as again, somehow I will have to pay for them, but I am not even sure if that is what is happening, or if their head even knows I am paying for my own consumptions. And, i am putting in the benefit of the doubt considering how I have known and been introduced to the head of the NGO.
So, instead of pushing for more feeding sessions, I decided to cut it off; anyway, most of the evacuees are home. Besides, SULU is more margnizalized than Maguindanao and I will me making much more worth of the help I have in hand in that area, than in Maguindanao.
We brought in cakes and chocolates too, and some kids, it is their first time to ever taste a cake :-(.
So, no more NGO to work with if I can do things myself anyway.