You wouldn’t really miss something until it is out of your sight or you need it most. Sometimes, we take things for granted because they have always been there. Have you ever thought of not having that everyday necessity called tsinelas? Call them flip-flops, thongs or Japanese sandals, those open-toed flat footwear held by a Y-shaped strap held between the first big and second toes on either side of your feet. For the moneyed few, call them Havaianas but for ordinary people like me, just call them tsinelas.
I was watching the news report late this afternoon and one of the big bosses of the ABS CBN network was telling the anchor that there are several flood victims of Sendong who are badly in need of slippers and blankets. You may laugh at this, why of all things, tsinelas is one necessity that one really ought to have. Can you imagine yourself walking barefoot all the time without any protective covering on your feet?
So again, this ties up with my memories of typhoon Ondoy two years ago. Flood waters reached our place while we were about to have lunch and we didn’t really expect that it would rise immediately prompting us to save what we can, important papers, small appliances, books and anything that we could grab. Nobody thought of emptying our cabinets of clean clothes just so we could save them. All I had saved on Nissa’s big beach bag when I left the house were house keys, two pairs of change of clothes for each of us, underclothes, my small transistor radio, cellphones, my chemotherapy drug and my camera. We decided to leave the house when the flood waters reached my chest and transfer to a friend’s house across the street. The water was up to my neck when my son and I crossed the street and I didn’t even know I was not wearing any slippers when I left our house. I just realized it when I reached the other side and the small stones lodged at the gutter hurt my feet and I could not go back to grab a pair. I was cold and wet and felt that my feet were being pricked by a hundred needles. The first thing that I requested from a friend who volunteered to buy us supplies two days after the flood was a pair of slippers and until now, I haven’t used it yet, kept along with unopened underclothes, extra jackets and our important documents in a sealed plastic box. It’s not easy to cope during a calamity and we were lucky that my family and I were together when we experienced it. I could imagine the plight of the people in Iligan and Cagayan de Oro. A simple pair of tsinelas would really go a long way.
And prayers, always prayers! They need our moral support too more than ever.