I am finding enough to eat in the Philippines, better than I thought. The UofU like to scare you I believe. They tell you not to trust anything! No raw fruits or vegetables, no water unless bottled from a recognizable source. Bug spray twice a day with 25% deet and spray clothes with permethrin. I think it's just when we're out in the poor areas not to trust the veggies, but at the hotel it's been fine. I think they have to accommodate to westerners. Although, I just learned that one of the other sisters that we're traveling with was up all night puking--so there you go. Maybe I should be more careful. We went to a buffet last night with lots to choose from--squid to halla halla (Filippino dessert- contains lots of jellied stuff they love it here). Today, I was able to enjoy a kit kat milkshake for lunch. That was the only thing we had time to grab and it actually tasted quite good.
Today we are headed to the poorer part of Manila to do screenings like I mentioned before (clubbed feet, cleft pallets, and cataract). It is mostly children who we are suffering which makes me so happy to help and it gives them a fair fight. These children then get to come and stay in a house provided by high Deseret through donations. The head of the house is Terry, and she provides meals for the children before and after their surgeries. Sweet smilie lady, standing about 4ft11". Truly one of those saintly people. Not only is she always have a happy look on her face, she helps the people with a faithful heart. Yesterday, she traveled a total of 11 hrs and saw over a 100 people at another clinic and still made time to come with us to the church. She's amazing.
We traveled for about an 1 1/2hr to get to the church where they were holding a clinic. Both bishops and the stake president, and two sets of missionaries were able to come to help set up chairs and answer any questions.
Here is the waiting room in the LDS church gym
We were able to do some screenings. Mat's job was to examine them and then send them to my room where I would write on the chalkboard and take their picture for surgery if they were accepted.
This is Ellen taking a picture after I write their surgery information on the chalkboard. It's a good way to remember who goes with what in case their information is lost.
You would not believe the ages of these people. You pretty much have to look at them and then add 15yrs. There is no possible way to tell their age.
We then took the 2hr ride back to the airport, 1 1/2 plane ride to Cebu, and then another 45 mins to the hotel. Good thing we had these specialty nuts given to us from Terry during all of our travels to keep us fed. I told you she was saintly.
When we got to our hotel, turns out the travel department forgot to book it. Minor detail. We were stranded for a bit at the airport, but then we were able to find a hotel slash casino that had three rooms for three nights. At first, Mat and I were given a room with two TWIN beds. We quickly asked for a king. Mat would not fit in an Asian twin.
Today we went to the local hospital Vicente Soto. We met with Dr Cymmer Go who reminded me of Robin Williams in that movie Patch Adams. A true humanitarian with a vision. He showed us around the clinic and then told us his intentions on how he plans to expand his charity work.
Our job (my job) was to write down the needs and possible future projects and equipment. For example, this doctor needs equipment that is mobile so he can go to the surrounding areas with his residents to help the needy. He wants to preform surgeries in the back of his van. This way people don't have to spend all they have to travel to him. The church board would then review it and then approve it if it is within the budget. That basically sums it up. We determined Manila was stable. They could use a few pieces of equipment that are portable and we'll see if we have enough left over to provide Dr Cymmer with a traveling faco machine, but they are expensive.
4mth Baby with cleft pallet all the way up to her eye. She will have suregery when she is 6mths.
Unstable Man getting on a scooter just after getting released from the hospital.
We had a chance to visit the Cebu temple.
This is what it looks like from our hotel window.
We did go to lunch with the full time humanitarian missionary who works for the church, Jarus. He took us to a traditional Filippino restaurant, which included oysters, tuna belly, and lots of mango shakes.
The waitress carries rice in this big drum and serves it to you right on a banana leaf that serves as your plate.
Traditional soup. All the meals you order are served family style.
He was telling us that when he was a kid he grew up right in this area. This lady owned a shop where she kept alligators and snakes. She would pay the local neighbor kids to catch cats and bring then to her for food for her animals. He said he got paid five pesos (12cents) for each cat.
He was also telling us when the earthquake hit and the typhoon. His wife was scared because he had to leave her to go help find the list of lost missionaries. He went down to Tacloban (Brian's mission) on his motorcycle and one by one found the missionaries in the local chapels and members homes. Crazy to hear him tell about the miracles. He said a bishop who is a contractor was working on a roof was nailing a 2x4 when the typhoon hit and fell off his ladder. His partner down below saw a beam of light catch his fall and bounce him back up onto the ladder. I believe it.
Mat presented Thursday night and it went well. They were having a big Thanksgiving dinner for the residents that passed their boards. Thanksgiving dinner to the Filipinos is cooking a full size pig. The best part for them, the crunchy skin. I managed to squeak past it in the buffet line, but when Dr. Patty came back to the table, she noticed I didn't have any on my plate (darn), so she kindly went back and got me a heaping helping of it, lots of crunchy skin and all. Lovely. I graciously tried some with quiet Oooooos and Mmmmms and then stealthily slid it to Mat's plate where he ate it for me. She was probably disappointed I didn't clean and lick my plate, but the little oinker didn't do anything for me (and yes, I have tried other meats around here, but pork is not my favorite).
As far as the presentation goes, the residents were respectful and quiet when he was talking about his plastic surgery tips. However, when the Doctor from Manilla presented, the residents talked all through hers. I felt it was rather rude and the school teacher in me was trying to hold back from shushing them all. So either the residents interested in Mat's presentation or they were just being respectful OR they just had heard the other Docs presentation all too many times. It was dry eye, which I even knew already.
Notice the banner they had made only after a couple of hours of knowing Mat was invited to speak.
Funny culture note: it is believed by the Filipinos that when you are expecting a child if you pinch a white man's cheek, you will have a light skinned baby. They also avoid touching crabs (they don't want their babies to have pinchers) and squid (they don't want their child to have dark skin from the ink of the squid) when they are pregnant.