Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation

May 09th
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Thanks for the Sunshine - Uniformed angels

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"Welcome to Santa Cruz, and thank you for bringing us sunshine! Local Tzu Chi volunteers Guo Zhao-qing (郭照慶) and Liang Cang-rong (梁倉榮) greeted the three-nation delegation to Bolivia as the sun made a rare appearance through the thick, dark clouds. Now we had a four-nation delegation to bring aid to the needy in Santa Cruz.

First, volunteers from the four countries were divided into groups to pack relief goods, including rice and medicine, into individual portions for distribution.

Earlier, when local volunteers went shopping for distribution goods, they felt the pinch of soaring prices in the marketplace. Rice had doubled in price, but the volunteers had no choice but to buy rice, lots of it. All told, they took delivery of 245 very large sacks of rice, a total of about 11.2 metric tons (24,690 lbs). The big heap of rice was divided into 5,600 two-kilogram [4.4-pound] bags to be distributed to flood victims. Each household would get two bags of rice.

Since it is common for infectious and skin diseases, and even colds, to break out after a flood, some medicine and a sheet of directions for how to use the drugs were also packed into medical kits to be handed out. The medical kits, along with the bagged rice and other daily necessities, were then put together into a larger bag.

Unlike the previous relief distributions, which were carried out by skeleton crews, the two distributions this time around were fully staffed, thanks to many members of the local Chinese community, who perhaps rose to the occasion because they were moved by the selfless help that Tzu Chi provided on previous occasions.

All those materials and bags had to be stored somewhere, even after the bagging operations. And people had to have places to work when they bagged and got everything ready. Some volunteers came through for this. Liao Zhi-xiang (廖枝香), in addition to mobilizing her employees to help out, quite literally emptied her home to make room for the volunteers to work. Likewise, Ke Cui-juan (柯翠娟) appropriated half of the space in her restaurant for this cause even though the place was usually jam-packed with paying customers, many of whom Ke had to turn away during the distribution preparation period. "Earthly wealth has to take a back seat to disaster relief," Ke said as she continued working on the bags.

While Ke, Liao, Guo, Liang, and many others were hard at work getting the distributions ready, members of the Tzu Chi International Medical Association (TIMA) went to Hospital Municipal Frances (HMF) in Santa Cruz to set up facilities for a free clinic which was to be held concurrently with the distributions.

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Jing-Si Aphorism

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