Jan 27, 2016 Wednesday
Our last clinic day. We are in San Miguel- which is a fairly big town. Set up was in the community gymnasium – which is good as it was pouring outside. It has been overcast the last couple of days….which has been fine - a warm rain. The land is parched so they can use it.
We are not used to all the space that a gym offers – so it was nice that we were covered – and the waiting patients were protected from the rain (which did get heavy at times) - but we kind of miss our rustic set ups.
We had a friend of Pablo join us – who is an MD – and was a big help for this last clinic.
Our hockey bag room looked very forlorn this am – every bit of supplies was packed into bags and when we leave we will be taking 48 empty bags except for personal items. We will divide it between the municipal clinic (to go to the villages) and the indigenous community which was very much in need.
The clinic was steady. We have had some record hypertension problems. 240/140, 220/112- these are readings we have never seen in clinics before. It is a combination of diet (very high salt), heredity, little medical follow up and lack of ability to afford the medications. Anabelle says that diet is the biggest contributing factor. Pork is cheaper here than fish – which is ironic when it is an island. The dried fish is heavily salted and the pork is cured. Everyone uses soy sauce which contributes to the problem.
We had a lot to pack up and give to the Mizhele from the mayor’s office and the aboriginal village – and with the help we had we finished clinic early. That allowed us time to empty the bags- get back to the hotel, get cleaned up and go to the Festival – dinner at the mayor’s office and then a dance. The mayor’s wife Lillbeth made us another amazing dinner – including traditional dishes like dinuguan (made from the blood and intestine of a pig), a turkey, a deboned chicken that was stuffed back into the skin and baked and black spaghetti – the sauce is made from the ink from squid, olive oil, and spices. The dessert was home-made chocolate cake, and fruit salad in a coconut cream. I feel like I am always talking about the food on this blog- but in addition to experience of the clinics, the team has been exposed to traditional Philippine food….and they have embraced it.
After dinner we moved outside. The mayor’s staff had a tent set up for us and at 7:30 a wonderful band started to play that was specially chosen by the mayor for the Canadians. It was an excellent rock and roll band that played music from the 80’s. They got us all up with Bohemian Rhapsody, Stairway to Heaven, Hotel California, Money for Nothing, Pretty Woman, Lady in Red and Smoke on the Water to name a few. The old members of the team loved it and the young ones actually knew some of these songs. The Canadians showed the community that we know how to party- ha ha. Lincoln spun and twirled the ladies as we all tried to keep up with him. The Mayor, the Governor and the Congressman and their families all joined us dancing in the warm breeze under the stars. It was a very special night that we will never forget.
One of the very best moments was when the Governor told us that the 15 year old girl needing the bowel reconstruction and colostomy closure was admitted to hospital today as the Governor contacted a friend who is a pediatric surgeon for help. Anabelle and I introduced her to the Governor at the aboriginal village and asked for his help and in just one day he came through for us. It will be life changing for this girl. As a team we offered to help with costs for her medications or the family to get her to appointments.
The team danced till midnight (we were having such a good time the Mayor and Governor asked the band to play an extra hour). The team piled into the vehicles and made it back to the hotel as at 5:15 am they headed to Boracay for a couple of days of tourism before heading back to Canada.
It was a wonderful experience and the team should be proud. We provided services to 5000 people, gave out 1000 pairs of reading glasses, pulled more than 600 teeth and gave medications to thousands of people.
Looking forward to Philippines 2019 – and the Governor is going to have us cover a larger area – with more support. We will start collecting our medications and supplies as soon as we get home as we will need a lot.