x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Young Emiratis speak fondly of Filipinos who are ‘always smiling’

For the cast of Beyond Borders, news of Typhoon Haiyan hit hard.

ABU DHABI // For the cast of Beyond Borders, news of Typhoon Haiyan hit hard.

“I actually couldn’t watch the pictures, after hearing about the typhoon,” said 17-year-old Mariam Al Kuwaiti, from Al Ain.

“I just don’t have the guts to watch anything. Just hearing about it is devastating for me, but I am glad the UAE is giving support to the country.”

She said that being in the country was an experience she will never forget.

“I really like how life changed after that. I now appreciate what I have and try to use it in a good way. I am more excited to graduate and become an engineer and maybe I can work on something for the Philippines. I’d definitely want to go back,” she said.

Another member of the trip, Ahmed Al Ghurair, from Dubai, said he was troubled by what he had seen.

“It makes me so sad because I met a lot of those people, and thinking about those people getting hit by the typhoon is terrible,” he said.

“I was just there so recently and hearing the stories that 10,000 people are either missing or dead, all I could think about was the family I was with. Maybe they weren’t affected, but many have been.

“The thing is though, the people there are so upbeat. At one point we met a woman who had lost everything, her home and all her possessions, but she said to us ‘we will just rebuild’. If something happens to them they always have a smile on their faces, they are always smiling.

“I didn’t expect it to be that way. I learned a lot and it really gave me a new perspective, they are the happiest people, even if they are living in poverty, they are still smiling,” he said.

ksinclair@thenational.ae