Disaster Evacuation Centers

Public schools throughout the city act as evacuation centers during a typhoon. Schools are being reconstructed after Typhoon Yolanda with multiple levels, or they are being equipped with a two-level concrete shelter so that evacuees can be protected from both high winds and storm surge waters. From the perspective of some coastal residents, these evacuation centers are helpful, but an incomplete solution. People in the purok I research consider themselves quite far from their nearest public evacuation centers. In good weather, these are a 20 minute and a 40 minute walk. If traveling in bad weather and with supplies, children and livestock, the trek becomes another ordeal. Leaders agree they would like to have an evacuation center people can get to within 5 minutes. So, some leaders have made private arrangements for residents to evacuate to nearby hotels instead. Other people find it very uncomfortable to stay in an evacuation center sleeping and cooking while cramped next to strangers, potentially for several days. So, they might choose instead to travel across the city and uphill to the “northern barangays” to stay with family members who have been relocated there into the permanent housing communities constructed for people displaced by Typhoon Yolanda. #vignette #ethnography #anthropology #inthefield #research #fieldnotes #culture #society #urban #urbanliving #coastalliving #disaster #unnaturaldisaster #naturaldisaster #kalamidad #resilience #resilient #preparedness #DRR #unevenrisk #risk #vulnerability #precarity #uncertainty #supertyphoon #supertyphoonyolanda #storm #stormsurge #tsunami #tidalwave

A post shared by Shelley Tuazon Guyton (@bendingbookshelf) on May 1, 2017 at 12:30am PDT

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Mother’s Day

Dear Mom,

People are still very persistent in their efforts to separate us. They appraise me, “You got your father’s brains,” and claim me, “You have the Guyton pinkie finger.” They say, “You are your father’s daughter.” Does that mean I am not yours?

I remember when people guessed you were anyone but my mother. They asked if you were my nanny. These things were funny facts of life. They were things I miscalculated. Things that, years later, kept me apart from you like a Rabbit-Proof Fence.

Did you hear them tell me I’m lucky? That I should use my skin, my name to get by in the world? How desperately they need to see me only as the White person. How much easier for us all to agree to an Imitation of Life.

You know what they say about selling yourself out, though. You attract irreversible debt in the end. I came to realize that meant in small ways I had lost you and Lola, and all the aunties and cousins who tried to raise me Filipina but let me drift to the tide of what is easiest. We fell apart to what “makes sense.”

But that was during the pressures of child rearing–one of the few times culture feels real. Now, in necessary moments, you and I can gesture from a distance to each other: “Really, though, what in this world makes sense?”

You are my Filipina mother, but I am White.

You are my Filipina mother, so I am not White.

You are my Filipina mother, who herself wonders what that means. This, I guess, is what more truly makes you my mother. We are growing always alongside one another into related questions.

Love,

Your Mango Baby

Imitation of Life. (1959). http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0052918/

Rabbit-Proof Fence. (2002). http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0252444/