After dedicating the last eight years of his life to aiding the impoverished in the Philippines, Ted Wall has seen what a lifetime of hardship and abjection can do.
“They struggle to make everyday needs like food, clothes and sending their children to school,” he said. “A lot of times, with people living in poverty, one of the main problems is a lack of hope and ambition.”
A member of Youth With A Mission, the Nanaimo born-and-raised missionary has been working from the ground level to assist and serve residents in the often-flood-ravaged areas of the Philippines. As base director, he oversees an area with approximately 500 homes and 4,000 residents.
“Often, we will try to create livelihood opportunities or projects for people, or connect them with businesses,” Wall said. “We hear their stories and we try to encourage them and push them towards their dreams.”
Currently on an annual trip home from the province of Laguna, where he resides full-time, Wall is spreading word of his work and canvassing donations to take back with him to the Philippines, where they will be used specifically for flood relief.
Prior to Laguna, Wall also spent time doing missionary work in Manila, which is about two hours south of Laguna. He and another missionary have been there since December.
“I felt like I wanted to go to an area where there was nobody working there helping these people already,” he explained. “We literally just got on a bus and tried to travel to as many places as we possibly could. If we saw a poor person on the street, we’d visit their community.
“We just saw such overwhelming need [in Laguna].”
The Laguna area is well-known for flooding, particularly during the rain season, when they can experience up to four to six typhoons in a season.
This year, however, the province is experiencing its worst floods on record, not due to natural disaster, but to a low-pressure system that has caused continual rain, coupled with the typhoons.
More than 2,000 residents have been evacuated from their homes into an emergency shelter (a gymnasium-sized covered basketball court) for the past month. The waters are not expected to fully recede for at least another month.
“You can imagine the challenge with bathrooms and showers … so it’s a pretty rough living situation,” Wall said.
Funds raised will help to purchase things like rice, canned goods and hygiene items for the residents and toward rebuilding flood-damaged homes once the waters have receded.
Ladysmith community members are invited to a special fundraiser for the Philippines being held Sept. 22 at Oceanview Community Church.
Local resident and RN Kristie Hornett is helping organize the event, which will consist of a presentation by Wall about his work, as well as displays and a silent auction. Dr. John Potts, who has also provided aid to other countries, will make a presentation as well.
Hornett says she was very moved by Wall’s stories and photos, and she is hoping to raise about $5,000 before he returns to the Philippines.
“It’s an opportunity to make a difference with change that may be on the counter or spent on a coffee,” Hornett said. “Even a little bit would go a long way.”
According to Wall, $5 in Canadian currency is equivalent to about 250 pesos. He added that 150 pesos is a full 15-hour day’s wage in Laguna.
Doors will open for the fundraiser at 6:30 p.m. Donors will be able to sign up for a monthly e-mail update on Wall’s progress.
For more information, call Kristie at 250-924-5572 or e-mail email@example.com.