Amidst the rain:

(A story of how a group of young Tausugs made a Tsunami of change)

By: Ahmad Musahari
Freelance Writer, A Tausug
 asmusahari@gmail.com

"In great sufferings and trials, we will see how united brothers can be."

After the February 3, 2011 Calamity that fell upon our homeland Sulu, a wave of sadness and wordiness also swept our heart just as the flood swept the homes of our Tausug Brothers. At first we, Tausug students from Marawi (a place far away from Sulu), felt helpless; thought that there is nothing we can do but pray. Perhaps, it might have been that way, until we decided to try, just try to do something to help. And then we made a great change.

These are the people and their actions that made this simple project possible; that started from practically nothing but our 'concern and love' to our fellow Tausugs and brothers in Islam. I wanted to thank these people for making our hearts captivated with joy. Only Allah can give the reward that you all deserved.

February 4, 2011 about 9:00 in the morning:
Someone with an unknown number texted me and asked about the situation in Sulu. I said I never knew what happen because I was here in Marawi, and with no to attachment myself to the news' world, I asked him in return, what happened?

He replied: "Sulu is a state of Calamity now: a storm broke out and a twin tornado also hit Jolo Town." I was shocked. He even heard that a number of people died in the incident. I even felt more devastated. And without any hesitation I contacted my mother, my friends in Sulu and asked them what happened. I was really glad to know that they were Okay; but after knowing what really happened in Sulu, one way or the other, I was still affected.

That night, we ( from the Swara Bangsa Student Organization, an umbrella organization of the Tausug, Yakan, and Sama students here in Marawi with Max Malik, our President) kept on thinking: not of what we weren't able to do then, but of "WHAT WE CAN STILL DO NOW"!



February 5, 2011. 6:30am:
We started the Action proposals of SBSO's TABANG SULU Program. It just came out from our wild minds: we logged on to our Facebook account, copied some photos (thanks tausugnet.com); made our posters (applied some learning in Photoshop); I wrote my blog; and published the news. We also started tagging in FB; texting anyone we know who can give any help. We started without any funds but from our own pockets, (it was only 26 Pesos,) just enough for us to print our posters.

In our classes, we approached some of our classmates: "Anything you can give, even at any small amount would do." By afternoon, Hamodi Tiboron, President of United Voices for Peace Network (UVPN) and a good friend, came to my room and told me he had plan of going to Cotabato and meet with our brothers there who can help us (I am also a member of UVPN National and MSU Chapter). We planned and bade goodbye, keeping ourselves posted for any updates. At night, we received a number of positive responses, asking what and how they can help. We started informing our roommates and dorm mates about the donations; we informed the Tausug students to have an emergency meeting by the next day. We started planning what to do then. Max had contacted a Tausug Professional in Manila (Taguig), Ms. Arwenda Sabaddin, and expressed her support; that they can also collect donations. That night only, I got 86 page views of my blog, a signal that we are doing well in our communications; we are getting a lot of interested people to our call.

February 6, 2011:
We started the University-wide Posting of the news and spreading it by text, written or words. The SBSO had a meeting of what simple actions we can have; collected some funds at any amount we have that time and expressed our support and prayers for the Flood Victims in Sulu.

By this day we already had received positive responses (that is, they will help and support in any kind they have; in action or prayers; in collecting or delivering the goods) from:

  • Tausugnet.com to serve as the Drop-in headquarters in Zamboanga City (Thanks kah Rey);
  • Muslim Student Association UZ Chapter as our Contact in Zamboanga City;
  • Pah Madz, our Adviser, who agreed to deliver our collections from Marawi to Zamboanga;
  • The Muslim-Christian Association in Taguig, for Connections in Manila and nearby areas;
  • The SBSO members who initiated the house to house and room to room collection in their respective areas;
  • The MSU SSG and MV, to try what they can do;
  • The other Three Tribal organizations (Lumpingan Organization of the Maguindnaons; the Sea Sider Organization of the Iranuns; and the Sigay Organization of the Kaagan) who told their constituents about our concern;
  • The SAMAPAH: student organization of CSSH (thanks Prez Mercie); to help in informing and collecting donations;
  • Lanao Today, Marawi News by CBG Foundation, to broadcast what happened in Sulu and tell the locales about the donations
  • A lot of friends in our college, cottages and dorms; who also informed their friends;
  • The United Voices for Peace Network (UVPN), headed by Hamodi stationed in Cotabato, who are willing to find ways to collect goods like noodles and the like, and used clothes;

Hamodi, A Maguindaanaon brother, is now trying to ask help from our brothers in Pagadian, Davao and even Singapore that might be of great help to our brothers in Sulu. A Million thanks Hamz:-)

That night we made a room-to-room checkup to ask for any donations the students can give. from 5 separated Dormitories, we have collected an almost 5 sacks of used clothes. good enough for a one-night activity.


February 7, 2011
It was raining, but still we were able to collect Seven Sacks of used clothes; most of which came from Ate Nono ( to whom we get our shares of food in her restaurant); we made a house-to-house route in many cottages in MSU and some establishments as well. Kuya Jalil was indeed a great help; he even used a shoe box for collections of Money. Alhamdulillah, many concerned people are still wanting to help.

Different Student Organizations, especially from the College of Social Science and humanities also initiated their own program to help us: TABANG SULU PROGRAM had already grown so much that I thought we cannot handle more of it!

as an Acknowledgement:
We wanted to thank these people for the invaluable efforts and the undying support they gave:

  • To all the students who gave their own donations, amidst the hardships they also had;
  • To Kah Arwenda Sabaddin, for giving us contacts in Manila;
  • To Sherhaifa Alih, for Tagging some of the photos we used;
  • Tausugnet.com people who gave us access to their photos;
  • To Kai-Kai Darul, for furtherly spreading the news on her blog: www.hijabified.net
  • To Hamodi Tiboron and Sohayl Ebil; Both of which I cannot __ how much help they gave.
  • To CBG Team, Lanao Today News, for the wonderful consideration of our request
  • To Sohayla Michelle Gonting, for suggesting to Broadcast the Program on their Radio Program (Project) and also for collecting donations in their dorm; and again for making a video clip about the flood in Sulu
  • To Farida Centi, my beloved friend (and my "Kambal" sister) who kept us updated and spirited
  • To Mercie Belandres, President of SAMAPAH, for including us in their meetings and beneficiaries
  • To the different Student Organization who helped us.
  • To my Room-mate Ahmed Benjir for giving the wonderful idea of this Program
  • To our Professional Seniors in Sulu, especially Kah Nelson Dino; and some Alumni of SBSO who gave their invaluable advices and support
  • To our fellow brothers in the dorms, who came along with us in our room-to-room collection, setting aside their free time for their brothers in Sulu (Max, Al, Habs, Radz, Mors, Harz, Sharif, Noi, Jalil, Rajib, Jacob)
  • To Pah Madz (Abdulmadir Dahamban)for sacrificing your time, and said yes on delivering the goods to Zamboanga;
  • To the Banocag Family, especially Ate Nono who gave us SIX SACKS of used clothes for donation and told her neighbors about our program;
  • To Engr. Mimbantas, for all the heartfelt help he gave,
  • To Kuya Jalil Halillo, who went to the College of Public Affairs and Collegeof Agriculture and Social work Department to extend our conections;
  • To that unknown someone who texted me the day after the incident;
  • And all those who gave their precious time listening to us during our, say, "campaign"
Indeed, we were overwhelmed by what happened; of how many individuals expressed their support; We started from nothing and Alhamdulillah we have something good. It really felt rewarding. And we can only have our reward from Allah, the almighty.

It is a waste of time if we keep worrying of things that we haven't done last time. RATHER,
LET US THINK OF WHAT SMALL THINGS WE CAN STILL DO! And we did :-)

Finally, we have proven that certainly, you don't need money to be able to help; You don’t need any Position to be able to do something. You just have to say: "I will do this" and “I want to help”. Do it and you'll find enumerable ways to do so; Just put all your trust to Allah, and you’ll see how much you can do to help.

It all started with a single drop of idea (niyat), and became a Tsunami of actions! Alhamdulillah!

PS: Tomorrow, we will continue our collections of donations.
Pls. visit: www.tabangsulu.blogspot.com

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