Huwebes, Mayo 15, 2014

Cry for help

When we arrived in Barangay Goaw of the Municipality of Liloy, we were welcomed by simple greetings of the people of the community especially Barangay Captain Milagros Bolando. The village is just a simple and silent place. The people were warm in welcoming us although.

It's clear that in THEIR faces They want to ask what our purpose of going there is. Our purpose is to answer the cry of help of every people of Barangay Goaw. This is God's way of Helping communities to be self reliant in terms of health aspect. Making people's lives better in the community is our goal before we let them stand in THEIR own. Organizing strategies and activities is our action to help them in the present and in the future. To make them shine in the light of possibilities amidst the darkness of threats and fears. So we listen.

We listen to every story, gossip, experience, events and many other things that can be told by the residents. We look intently for cry of help, but we can not find it everywhere we looked. We focused on looking for cries of help that we did not noticed a more important cry of the people, The Battle Cry for improvement. The people did not need our help to solve THEIR Problems. They need someone who will guide them to open the doors of possibilities in Improving the lives in the community, the possibilities for a better healthcare access, growth in economic status and improvement of sanitary practices like waste disposal, hygiene and drinking water

 As of now, we are answering this battle cry, want to grow THEIR, THEIR urge to shine. And by God's grace, power and MIGHT, we will deliver.

Written by:
Jaime Punzalan

Community Survival 101

Signing up in a community- oriented medical school is, to a certain extent, a tough decision for me to make. It would mean spending a BUNCH of time in remote, rural areas with people I barely know of. In other words, it would cause a disruption of my much-loved “comfort zone.”

I am not an avid-outdoorsy person. In fact, I am the complete opposite. For this reason, I strongly expected that my first ever one- month community exposure would be a difficult one. How would I supposed to survive in the “grand outdoors” without the comforts of modern living like the internet, refrigerator, television, and, oh yeah, plumbing?

Hence, a few days before setting out and after doing a LOT of self-pep talk, I decided to prepare the things that I needed in order to survive the month. Here’s how I was able to stay alive and live to tell the tale:

1          .   I only brought a FEW set of clothes:  The fewer, the lighter. In my experience in the community, “recycling” of not-so-dirty shirts and washing at least twice a week was a usual phenomenon. I had to wash my own clothes so I learned to be conscientious of what I would wear.

2           .    I brought the NECESSITIES: As much as I wanted to be comfortable in the  community, ‘essentials’ (such as first-aid kit, soap, shampoo, toilet paper, sunscreen, sleeping bag) were among the priorities in my to-bring list.

3        .    I also brought some of the COMFORTS of home: My pillow and warm blanket helped me sleep comfortably every night. The place where we were staying in the community would get quite cold every night so, fortunately for us, there was no need for any artificial ventilation.

4            .    Last but not the least, I brought something for amusement. - Some days in the community could really get mind-numbing and lonely (when homesickness and wistfulness hits you hard), so I brought my tab and stored with it quite a number of movies and songs for my sole entertainment and relaxation.

As you have already guessed, staying outside my “comfort zone” is my Achilles’ heel.  The expectations which I had for a month-long community exposure, was low-down. Nonetheless, my actual experience proved me wrong. Community was not that bad. The time I had spent in the area brought me the realization that, among the many items included in my to-bring list, the key essentials in making one’s stay in the community a whole lot easier and worthwhile is the Respect and Friendship one has for every member of the team. As a quote that I have once seen in passing says, “Friendship improves happiness and abates misery…if a team is to reach its potential, each player must be willing to subordinate his personal goals to the good of the team...”

Away from Home: Mirror...Mirror On the Wall

                  Two-storey house, two living rooms, four bedrooms, three bathrooms—this is the kind of place I live in, everyday of my life. I have my own room, air-conditioned, with double-sized bed, study table, laptop and an ipad, comfortable enough that I could just stay here all day long if I wanted to. It may sound like a rich kid but I am not, fyi. I do not have an iphone nor a macbook instead, I am using my six year old laptop at this very moment which has been teaching me the virtue of patience(if you know what I mean). LOL. I do not use a G-tech or a Parker. They’re just too expensive for a pen.  Many times in my life, I wish I had more. Until one day.
                  I woke up. It was cold but there was no air conditioner. I felt my back aching. I realized I was sleeping on a thin foam which separates me from the hard and cold floor. I looked around. I saw two, three, four, five, six, seven familiar people, sleeping too on the floor and chairs. It was then I realized I was with different people, that was not our house and I am away from home.
                  It was a small house, compared to ours. The bathroom is outside. Water is limited. Food is limited. No television. No air conditioner. No wifi. The first few days were quite exciting. The idea of being away in a civilization, away from strict parents plus the being-independent-thing made it more fun and at the same time challenging. Everyone was on their best side, I bet. We had no problems from household chores to academics tasks, initially. But as the days gone by, we got exhausted. The tasks seemed more difficult to accomplish than they used to be. We started to look for the comforts of our homes where everything seems to be easy.  It was different here.  We had to cook. We had to go to market which is kilometers away from us. We had to wash our clothes. We had to clean the house. We had to budget our money.  We had to deal with eight different people, various personalities, whom we have only known for less than a year. We had to serve the people without expecting in return. We had to do these ourselves, without our parents, without our family who used to be there for us and do those for us, for our convenience. It was difficult, here.  If only I could fast track the days, I could have done that.   

                  But it was in this place too, that I found myself changing, gradually. The virtue of patience was put to test. It was not easy live 24/7 with people of different personalities. I had to adjust not just once but many times. I had to appreciate the things that we only have and look not for otherwise. After the experience of being away from home for thirty long days, I can say that it made me a better person. It made me appreciate and value more the life I have. The experience served like a mirror to me, when I looked at it and wished I had more, it showed me how much I already have. 

Written by:
Era Mae M. Ramirez
Medicus Enim Dei
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