helping the poor in lucena

yesterday in lucena, my family held a medical mission as an offering for my father, cesar villariba’s 84th birthday. our family regularly have golden seeds’ day on birthdays to thank everyone for our health. since it was our father’s birthday,we decided we would have a healing day.

around 300 women with children came and we organized ourselves along categories that needed attention : pediatrics, pulmonary, dermatology, geriatrics and general attention. since ceres romano, my sister, is a dermatologist,we decided we would group all the people along five rows based on the categories and get the more urgent cases attended at once. i volunteered to interview those mothers with babies. all the babies were feverish, had coughs and colds and they all looked like wilting blooms. as i scanned the babies, they did not even respond to my touch and i asked the mothers how long ago did their babies get sick. most said around a week and i asked them if they breastfed their babies. some do and some said they didnt. many of the mothers were laundrywomen and they have more than two young children aside from babies. they were also coughing and complained of dizziness. most of the children had skin allergies and were malnourished children.

after interviewing fifty mothers, i turned to the grandmothers who were asking also for immediate attention. most wanted eye check-up and glasses but we had only 30 reading glasses and eye drop medicine so i wrote on their check up form to visit an eye doctor in the hospital for diagnostics. all the women wanted to talk and i listened to them briefly. i could not provide adequate counseling time since 300 people were already registered and ceres had to diagnosed what medicine she could provide. the best i could do was get all the women with eye problems in one corner and gave them a short talk on diet, to eat green and yellow vegetables like malunggay and oregano, squash and carrots which can help with their eyes and health. i also told them about resting their eyes and not to watch television for more than 3 hours, especially when they are tired in the evening. but how were they to entertain themselves after a long day’s work of washing dirty clothes? so i shifted my short medical advise to laughing at least five times during the day, and they smiled. the children began to gather around the women as i told them that laughter was a better way of healing themselves . of course they know that but i realized affirming it as a medicine gave them relief. as i finished getting most of the women, children and some men prepared for their consultation with ceres, i turned to a girl selling pineapple that my nieces told me. she had a swollen cheek and i asked ed to scan her (ed and i learned energy scanning i tetada kalimasada). ed wasnt prepared since we did not practice our jurus (exercises) that day so i asked the girl, her name is angel, about her cheek.

angel and her sister were abandoned by her mother and left under the care of her grandmother. when she was younger, her father was charged with rape and was imprisoned (although she did not know if he was convicted). that was in catanauan town and her mother migrated with the two girls to lucena. there she met another man who turned to be abusive. she left and the two girls had to fend for themselves. the younger girl, angel, became the object of torture. the stepfather would hit her when he was drunk. one day, he got a metal tube and stuck the tube in her mouth. angel was brought bleeding to the hospital and the stepfather was arrested. that was a year ago but angel still feels the pain in her left cheek and she cannot go out to sell food when it is hot or when it is cold. i decided to take angel and her sister and cousin to lunch at home with us.

i found many resilient traits in angel, nine years old and her sister, angelica,ten years old. both of them sell food to help their grandmother feed seven other grandchildren plus take care of a sick son. they both want to go to school but they have not been registered (their mother did not register them when they were born) and their grandmother has her hands full trying to care for a big family, so no one had arrange to enroll them. earlier i had written a request for them to find the barangay captain for late registration but i realized that they could not write nor read. when they came to lunch with me, i asked my elder brother sonny to talk with them. sonny asked them about their life and after lunch, he asked them to bring a relative so we would arrange for their education. i gave them towels and soap, underwear and a school bag. we met with an aunt whom i had diagnosed earlier in the clinic as having reproductive health problems. i introduced our family as a family of teachers and that we would organize them as a learning group for the alternative learning system (ALS). i also brought in mercy, our laundrywoman who is a migrant from leyte but who lives in the same urban poor area. she agreed to be a learning group coordinator, a kaagapay ( more blogs about our education for life ALS program from http:// ). we suggested that we would start with writing and reading lessons and we showed them books that ning encarnacion gave us. we gave mercy the task of being their librarian. angel’s eyes twinkled and the three girls and their aunt promised to attend our learning sessions. i told them we would arrange for at least an hour a day,twice week for preparatory classes in their area. with that offering, we bid them goodbye since we were returning to quezon city that day.

on the way home to quezon city, my mind was full of questions. i wondered how i could organize angel’s learning, knowing her trauma and the many emotional issues she has to resolve. but having seen and listened to her, she is a girl who will not surrender to despair nor be defeated by extreme neglect. she was always smiling even when narrating her horrible experiences. there is that determined twinkle in her eyes and she laughs with gusto when given a pen and paper to write. she also has the love of her elder sister, angelica, who buys the pineapples and peels them for selling. i asked the two girls how they learned to count and give change ( which will be another lesson in pedagogy) and their stories made me think that children like angel and angelica have multiple intelligences. they survive poverty and make a living. they deserve a better future.

Explore posts in the same categories: Lucena Learning City

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