Sunday, October 25

Chaos of the Ashfall

photo by MARLOU JOSEPH B. BON-AO/ THE FLAME

NO one expected this to happen. After all, it had been 43 years since they last felt its wrath. But now, the smoke billowed overhead and ash avalanched their homes. Sparks of lightning flickered within the volcano’s fumes. He feels the dust sting his eyes. The air became too toxic for him to breathe, making him cough and wheeze at every inhale.

He and his family needed to leave. His mother shovels clothes into their bags. His sister is in charge of their siblings; she carries the youngest, and the others hold on to her hand or cling to her clothes. His father desperately pulls the carabao while looking at the ashen fields somberly. As for him — the eldest — he grabs whatever is in sight into his bag. The eldest takes one last look at their home, the fields, and the crops that once grew there. It breaks his heart to see it all vanish under the blanket of ash.

With their things on their back, the family trudge through puddles of ash and rainwater. They saw their fellow neighbors along with them.

He sees the other families that remain in their homes. He could not blame them. It was difficult for them to leave their homes, their animals, and their livelihood. It was all that they have. Despite the chaos of the ashfall, he knows that they shall stand strong. F DJULIENNE FLOR V. FOSTER

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