Meet Patty Busano, Ackah Law's Office and Marketing Assistant. Patty's terrifying experience with a supertyphoon demonstrated how important she is to our team - and what a courageous young woman she is. Patty is based in the Philippines and is part of our global team that understands the needs of our global clientele. Patty has been a key member of our team since 2019 and has a strong marketing background and valuable insight into business development and marketing in a competitive market. As a graduate of Mass Communications, Patty trained in media relations at the University of the Philippines and previously worked as a paralegal.
This past December, Patty's area of the Phillippines was hit by the deadly Typhoon Rai/Odette. The category 5 typhoon impacted 4.5 million people, including 500,000 people who lost their homes and were forced to shelter in evacuation centres. Potable water, fuel and food were in short supply, and Patty, her family and neighbours all were in survival mode.
Becoming a supertyphoon survivor was a life-changing experience for Patty. For weeks after Typhoon Rai hit on December 16, Patty's daily existence was fueled by the adrenaline needed to help her and her family get daily provisions and necessities. Christmas Day was spent in the dark eating all of the perishable food in her refrigerator.
The events that happened during and after the storm is a high life lesson. The amount of damage that I have seen was enough to challenge even the strongest person - just how steadfast can one really be in the midst of a crisis? I have seen the best and the worst of humanity throughout all of this.
Work was out of the question:
- Electricity went out during the storm, and the area is not expected to be restored for months.
- The price of potable water rose to 400x its normal cost, and people waited for firetrucks that provided rationed water.
- Internet and cell phone signals could only be accessed by travelling to another region, which was out of the question given the dire daily conditions and priorities.
- Unable to work and without income, residents were challenged to afford the unexpected costs due to the destruction, much less normal daily living expenses.
--> See photos of the Cebu City area: https://sugbo.ph/2021/photos-cebu-after-odette
Pivot and Priorities
Overcoming the logistical challenges, Patty was able to travel to access the internet and inform Ackah Law Founder Evelyn Ackah of what had happened in her hometown, and her unavailability to work indefinitely due to her priorities of food, shelter and safety for herself and her family, and the devastation to the region's infrastructure. During the following weeks, Patty sent occasional updates to the Ackah Law team on her safety and living conditions - and her concerns about losing her job. And as if the typhoon wasn't enough, with normal precautions nearly impossible to follow, Patty contracted Covid and her senior parents were bedridden for days. There was no question in Evelyn Ackah's mind that Patty's job would be waiting for her return, however long that might be.
Evelyn Ackah, Founder and Managing Lawyer at Ackah Business Immigration Law, explained,
As a global team with remote workers, we strive to develop personal relationships and support each other. What Patty went through was a frightening and challenging experience, and reinforced what an important member of our team she is as well as a remarkably ressourceful woman.
As a global team with an international focus, Patty's colleagues at Ackah Law were remote in distance, but always with her in their thoughts and conversations. How's Patty? Have we heard from Patty? What's happening with Patty? were daily questions from the team, but often without an answer.
In the aftermath of the typhoon, Patty learned a lot about herself and her ability to pivot as the situation demanded and quickly shift her priorities from her career to focus on daily survival. After 49 days, Patty returned to her job at Ackah Law in early February, with a new outlook on life and the support of her colleagues.
It's good to be back at work, and part of the team. Work gives me some semblance of normalcy. Although challenges remain at home for months - even years - to come, I'm grateful to have the support of my employer and colleagues at Ackah Law.
Welcome back, Patty!