Tiny girl with lots of hair. She has darker skin and curious eyes. “Can I hold her?” I ask her mother, Joy.
As I hold her close to my chest I can feel her raspy breathing. Her small lungs are struggling for every breath. I wanted to cry, but I see Joy’s face and she is smiling. She is just relieved Zaira is alive.
When Joy had Zaira there were some complications while giving birth. The doctor told her she wouldn’t be able to have anymore kids.
November 8th 2013, when Typhoon Yolanda hit the Philippines, Joy and her husband had to take refuge with their three months old daughter, Zaira, in an open field as their house didn’t stand a chance against the strong winds. From 6 am til 2 pm they fought the gusts and the rain trying to cover Zaira with their bodies to protect her from harm.
Many times Zaira ended up being under water and mud due to the heavy storm raging over them. The first time she vomited her mother, Joy, cried out to God.
“Please spare the only child I will ever have.”
Joy remembers Yolanda as if it was never going to end. But the storm did eventually – and Zaira survived.
I turn Zaira around so she can see me better and she locks eyes with me. “Typhoon Baby,” I call her. A smile fills her little face and I can’t help but laugh.