Jan 25 2016, Monday
Today the team was up early and had breakfast which was toast, eggs and a pork dish called tocino – a red coloured cured sweet pork dish – that is made with sugar and spices. Very low calorie (ha ha) – but we love it. Kind of like sweet and sour pork back home.
We loaded into the Jeepney and headed to the Barangay of Boognay. We have never been to this village before….and it is in an open area with nice breezes and a small school. There are 2,126 people in this Barangay and 468 households.
This is festival time on the island - celebrating the patron saints of each Barangay. We passed a parade that went on and on- with marching school bands, baton twirlers, drums…..a huge parade heading to the school grounds. The smallest of kids were involved with pom poms- to the older kids with drums- all dressed in their specific school colours.
We quickly set up for clinics- we are getting really good at this. Registration had started and the village is not too big – so we managed the patients quickly and efficiently. We saw 276 patients in 3 hours plus 150 kids got fluoride in the school. We would have seen more- but two teachers were off – and when that happens – there is no replacement found. The kids in that class just don’t go that day.
With the extremely high numbers we have we are nearly out of some meds again. Antibiotics, pain killers and freezing for the dentists in particular. We had planned on 1 dentist but have 3 and they are pulling close to 100 teeth a day – so this is a lot more than we planned for. Anabelle’s sister runs to the city to get more supplies….we could not manage without all this help.
In the afternoon we went to Sitio Kati – which is the aboriginal village on the island. When we came to the Philippines in 2013 – this village had the greatest need and that was the case again. Next trip (2019) we have to come here first. It is a small village with just 70 homes but very poor. Only a handful of the homes have electricity. Many children do not have shoes. The village has recently been relocated when the Mayor gave them their own land and each family has their own deeded plot. It is higher up on a hill than the previous location, more breeze and more space and has its own community well. We set up in a community center that is used as for meetings, day care. There is a missionary involved with the people – a woman from Bermuda named Claire. She knows each family and we left her with some supplies and medications. We also made two home visits- one to a palliative patient who was only 43 but had uncontrolled diabetes. Tomorrow we will make another home visit and bring supplies. The other was to a stroke victim that is unable to walk and needed a general health assessment. We could have taken a whole bag of kids’ crocs just to this village.
We also gave out purses to some of the women – stocked with toiletries – that were a huge hit. Thanks so much to all the nurses who sent them.
There are two children from this small village that we are following from 3 years ago. A 5 year old boy who had a bowel blockage at birth and needed a colostomy that has not been closed as the family cannot afford the surgery- which if fairly simple as he can have just one surgery. The other is a 15 year old girl who was born without an anus so she has a colostomy- this is more complicated as she needs two surgeries to allow the bowel to be connected. It is critical that both these children have this surgery to allow them to lead normal lives. We spoke with the Governor who came to the site and he promised to contact a pediatric surgeon to do the surgery. We left money to help with this in 2013 and told the governor we would help for both children to have this surgery if he could ensure that the surgery proceeds. The family need help with the logistics of getting to Iloilo, having the pre op work done, then the surgery and follow up …all this costs money here and these families just do not have it.
This team has become very versatile. Nursing was set up in Sitio Kati in an open air shelter. In the small community room we crammed in Pharmacy with Joe, glasses with Gloria and Cal, 2 MD’s and Allison our Nurse practitioner and Lorna our pediatric specialty nurse. Yda May and Tiffany went to a shelter with the Dentists and the fluoride set up outside- it was tight but did not take us long to get through the patients.
We were joined the last two days by Dominica and Chris – a couple from Stratford. Dominica is a nurse at Stratford Hospital and Chris is an electrician. They were both a huge help and a pleasure to work with.
The team loaded in the vehicles (Gloria, and Lillian in the back of the pick-up as usual!) and headed back to the hotel. Dinner tonight was at the festival in town. Then back home to get some sleep. Busy day tomorrow.