Thursday, January 9, 2014

Dulag for the New Year

Just after Christmas I made another trip to the area affected by Supertyphoon Haiyan. This time I had the privilege of bringing my daughter, Alexie, with me. We went to Dulag which is about 45 minutes south of Tacloban. We assisted a group called "Mercy in Action", a group of midwives who had established a temporary clinic at an elementary school.

Since I have done a poor job of updating this blog, I am going to cheat, while at the same time giving you a better experience, by publishing Alexie's report of our experience.

By the way, "Ate" and "Kuya" are respect terms for "big sister" and "big brother" expected to be used when talking to or referring to someone older than you in the Philippines.
Dec. 26
The day after Christmas, Dad and I got up really early so that we could get the 6 a.m. Joy bus to Manila. This trip is about 7 hours.
When we got to the airport, the guy from The Philippine Bible Society met us with the 50 Wari Bibles Dad had ordered. We had a lot of luggage. We checked in. The line was quite long to go to Tacloban. This actually surprised me.
Bunches of baggage
We sent a text to Pastor Duane and Ate Christina. They are Ate Norlyn’s friends that work with Hands of Hope. We were meeting them at the airport and Ate Norlyn would come the next day. Buses took us to the plane. It was only an hour trip. 

We circled twice before actually landing at the Tacloban airport. The airport is right by the ocean. They brought the luggage in big carts and everyone grabbed their luggage.  

Kuya Tanno brought the “Mercy in Action” ambulance to take us to Dulag.We stopped at the MacArthur Monument. It was very cool. There were statues of soldiers wading in water. They were in good shape but the rest of park was not.
MacArthur Landing Memorial Park
All along the way, I looked outside. Everything was broken. There were big piles of debris. The sun, the sea, and the palm trees made everything look beautiful despite of everything.  But the smell was not often beautiful.

I think that the people are very strong. They are resilient.  And they have hope.

When we arrived, Ate Vicky (director of Mercy in Action) met us and showed us around. She asked what we saw ourselves doing. I was too shy to say. I was so glad that Dad did.  I wanted to help medically. Pastor Duane, Christina, and I were assigned to cook. Dad was going to help in the Medical Clinic.

We set our tents outside on the cement below the overhang. There were holes in the overhang.
We ate dinner with them and started to make up the packs for the new mothers of supplies we had brought with us. These packs included a Bible, a package of 12 diapers, a baby shirt, 2 diaper wraps, a water filter, and a mosquito net.
A sample of a gift pack for moms
Dec. 27 
The next day, Pastor Duane, Christina and I took a motorcycle to the market or palingky.  They wanted to get some balls and I wanted to get buckets for the water filters. We found buckets easily but not balls. Not many shops were open.

In the afternoon, one of the midwives, Ate Michelle, was going to get load for her phone invited anyone who wanted to go to go with her. Dad wanted to. About 5 minutes later, she came rushing back asking for Dad's EMT bag and then again for the ambu bag. I was frightened and went out to see what was going on. There was a big crowd of people around the lady who was down. When she became conscious, she resisted help. Finally they got her into the back of a big truck. Kuya Nick, who is an ER nurse, Dad, and Ate Norlyn went in. Ate Norlyn had just arrived when she jumped in to translate. I had struggled with starting to cry earlier but once we made it back in the clinic, I really did start crying because I was so overwhelmed and Dad was gone.

Later, I went with Pastor Duane and Ate Christina went to a Sari-Sari store and got tomatoes, eggs and onions for dinner. All the kids followed us.
The Baguio Cooking Brigade: Ate Christina, me, Pastor Duane, and Ate Norlyn
Dec. 28
I also got to experience a birth. Kuya Tanno said that there was a labor so Ate Jenny, the nurse that I was following, and other people rushed in there. I followed. I was unsure of what to do but Ate Vicky said that if I was going to be in there to get some gloves on and help so I did. She asked me to hold the mom’s hand. She did not scream. Her water broke and there was also some blood on the floor. It happened really fast. I was asked to take pulse every five minutes but I could not and it was too much pressure so someone else did. I put the baby hat on the baby girl. I spent the next few hours with her. Ate Christy was with me most of the time. We checked her pulse and did a fundal check every so often. We also did some paper work. The baby was nursing and the mom resting. Then 2 hours later, we clamped the cord on the baby’s side and I got to cut it. When the mom went to the CR (comfort room, or bathroom), I got to hold the baby. She had to change her clothes which were sweaty and bloody. Later the baby had her check-up. They gave her a shot of vitamin K and something else.
My first delivery
Dec. 29 
Ate Norlyn, Ate Christina, and Pastor Duane left.

Pastor Duane’s nickname for Dad:  MacGyver!

Sorry I can not divide it up by day much anymore.

Soon after, I was able to follow Ate Tara around. She was doing prenatals. She would feel the position of the baby and measure the fundal height (height of uterus). I took some blood pressure. Also they checked her hemoglobin. I got water if they needed to take some medicine.

I also had to cook so I left early to cook. It was hard to cook by myself.

I decided to start working in the medical clinic. Kuya Nick was amazing. He let me listen to lungs and then he told me the sound. He always would let me do stuff and include me. I learned a lot. I got to put on steri-strips.

One time we made crab grilled cheese sandwiches together from the crab a patient brought. They were amazing and fun to make. Kuya Nick said that how I could make money for college would be to sell these from a van in dreadlocks. 
The usual and the treat
A 14-month old came to us with burns all over her chest and side. They had been boiling vegetables and she had tipped them over on herself. She cried herself to sleep. They dropped I.V. liquid over the burns while Ate Jenny de-brided (cut off the dead skin). She woke up as they were dressing her burns with ointment and gauze. She was crying so hard that I started to cry. Her eyes pleaded me to help her but I could not. She even reminded me of Kiera, a little girl from Bontoc, so it was so much harder. We heard later that she is doing well.

Working at the medical clinic, I usually signed people in. I would get their name and age and see what was wrong with them. We had people come in for so many reasons. Most came for cough and cold. Puncture wounds were not uncommon. Several times we also had motorcycle accident victims come in. One guy had a snake bite. A little girl had drunk kerosene. We also had asthma patients come in which was usually small children. We did a lot of wound care too.

I also did a lot of wound care. It was nice to do daily dressing changes as we got to get to know people and their names. One was Kuya Michael. He had a wound on his head and his arm from a motorcycle accident. Then there were siblings, Ray Gerald and Alyssa Mae. They had been involved in the motorcycle accident that had happened the first day. Ray Gerald’s foot was raw on one side. Alyssa Mae had some cuts on her face and shoulder. There was some concern for her shoulder.
A look at the medical tent, Ray Gerald, and Kuya Michael
It was so cool because, while I was there, I was kind of in charge of giving out A-20. This was a food supplement from America. Whenever someone came for it, I would measure their MUAC (measurement of their upper arm), get the mother’s name, age, how many times she had received aid, the age and gender of her nursing baby, her barangay, and cellphone number.  Then I gave the aid. It was also for the pregnant ladies.
I took pride in handing out American aid.
We had to move because the wind was so strong that it would blow our tent which was scary. We moved into the medical tent. We would set up at night and take down in the morning. We moved once more inside the building because they needed room in the tent.
Our final address, 2nd tent on the left
One time a little baby came in who had reached for some rice. She had burned all her hand. She was such a cute baby. Usually as long as she was nursing, she did not cry when she came back every day for dressing changes. I got to hold her some.

One time, a little boy came with asthma.  The treatments did not work and we could not understand each other. It was so sad. I was glad that I could understand some of what he said like when he asked for water or to use the CR. The family did not have money. Kuya Matt gave them money so that they could take the ambulance. But they had to go the opposite way to get the ambulance. This was so hard for me.

Once school started, we took care of students whenever they got injured. One little boy was very scared. I was trying to stop his arm from bleeding and he would pull away. They had to hold him down for a tetanus shot and to clean it and put on steri-strips. It was very hard to see us have to force him to let us help him. His mom came while we were cleaning it.

I learned so much from my time especially with the three nurses in the medical tent: Kuya Nick, Kuya Matt, and Ate Jenny. They all taught me so much. 

I loved playing with the kids. They all knew my name. I gave high-fives as I went in and out. They also gave me some flowers. One day I did some gymnastics with them. It was fun. They were so sweet.
Chilling out at the school flagpole
Katrina was a sister of a new mother. She is eleven. She slept in the big tent and we did too for a while. She swept the tent especially after she saw dad sweeping. She was very interested in medical stuff. Dad showed her how to use a stethoscope. She helped me with A-20 some too. She is very sweet. She and I spent some time together. When Dad showed the Jesus film in Tagalog, she and I watched it together. We got to take pictures together.
Jesus film for the community
Trisha was one of the triplets. She  and Nicole were so sweet and we spent some time together. Trisha's brother hit his toe when he was playing soccer with Dad so we changed his dressing.
Christian was one of the boys. His parents are not together. He lives with his Grandma. He speaks English very well and is very bright. We also talked and spent some time together.
Front row:  Christian and the triplets.  Kuya Tanno is with me in the back
There were NAVIS doctors from Germany that came in the afternoon. They were a great resource to us and gave us a break.

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