Recently I was able to go on a medical mission trip to the Philippines and so I have chosen to write about my experiences there.
I can not be sure all of these dates are correct as the Philippines is 12 hours ahead of the time in North Carolina. (and plus I was completely oblivious to what day was which when we were there) I will try my best to remember though!
Saturday, May 23rd – 24th 2009 -
Our trip began bright and early as we left from Morganton, NC at 4:00 in the morning (ok, so the sun wasn’t up yet so it was more like dark and early) to drive down to Charlotte, NC. Our plane left Charlotte around 8:00 – 8:30 and we flew to JFK (John F. Kennedy International Airport), and from there we embarked on our 16-hour plane ride to Hong Kong! From Hong Kong we flew to Manila, Philippines and proceeded from there to drive 4 hours to Manaoag, Philippines.
Monday, May 25th 2009
We managed to arrive in Manaoag, Philippines at 4:00 or so in the morning (it would be 4:00 in the afternoon on Sunday back home). I managed to grab a few hours of sleep and woke up about 8:30. I took a cold shower (it felt awesome to be clean!), ate a “brunch” and hung around the house we were staying at for a few hours. At 1:00 we attended a welcoming service for us put on by the church there. The service was full of singing, speeches and traditional dances for us to see. It lasted an hour or so and after that we were able to hang out and greet some of the members there. This was my second time coming to the Philippines so it was great to see some familiar faces again! That afternoon we ate supper and hit the bed by 8:00. I was so tired!
Tuesday, May 26th 2009
Tuesday was the first day of our medical mission clinic. It was mainly for the church members and their immediate families. We wanted to make sure they were seen first as many of them would be helping in the clinic in the days to come. My role in the clinic was to operate the computer for the eyeglasses department. More specifically, one of our workers would read the patients eyes, send the prescription to my computer and I would print out a list containing the best prescription matches. This became harder and harder as the days wore on and our inventory became smaller and smaller. I would also remove glasses from the inventory when they were given to a patient.
Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. May 27th, 28th and 29th 2009
These days were full of the general medical clinic. The clinic consisted of 1 doctor, 1 surgeon, a pharmacy (2 nurses), 1 dentist with 2 nurses and helpers, 4 people working an eye department, 2 people putting on a children’s program, 2 pastors conducting men and pastor seminars, and a professional video man/ photographer to document the trip. The clinic was able to see about 1200 people, 400 more than the year before. During that time hundreds of teeth were pulled or filled, 200+ prescription glasses were issued, 300+ reading glasses were given away, 20+ surgeries were performed, hundreds received medical attention and 175+ people were saved.
Saturday, May 30th 2009
This was my favorite day of the trip. In the morning we took a 30-minute ride to the China Sea or a baptism for three people. It was the first time we really could get “out” to see and experience the Philippines! We arrived back at the church and did about five more hours of medical clinic. During this time I was able to take a break and see two surgeries! I must say that they made me feel rather “lightheaded”, but it was a great experience. The first surgery I watched was on a ganglion on a woman wrist. It was so crazy to watch him cut the lady open and start pulling stuff (I don’t know what it was) out of her wrist. But like I said, I did get lightheaded, there is just something about watching medal go down further in a person than its supposed to that is just not right to me. The second surgery I experienced was on a man who had a cist on the side of his face. When the doctor cut it open all of this puss came out and he explained that it was the build up of dead cells and created the cist and they had no way to get out so they just sit there. Anyway, it was a great (but crazy) experience to watch surgery being performed on a desk inside a cinderblock room.
Sunday, May 31st 2009
On Sunday morning we attended the church that had hosted us. It was great because the kids who had attended the children’s program that week performed and sang for us. That afternoon we drove up to Baguio City, which is a large city randomly placed in the mountains. Seriously, it is the most random thing, we were driving up these incredible steep hills and randomly there is this huge city at the top. From there we were able to see some incredible views.
Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. June 1st, 2nd, and 3rd 2009
On Monday, we had to leave at 2:30 in the morning to drive to Manila to catch our flight to Hong Kong! On the way, the bus with our luggage broke down, luckily we had left early enough to get a taxi bus to carry it the rest of the way, and we still made our flight. We stayed in Hong Kong for two days, and I must say that it is one of the best cities have ever been in. It was almost like culture shock to go from the Philippines to “21st century” Hong Kong. But there is was finally able to take a warm shower (which I thoroughly enjoyed!) We did a lot of sight seeing and overall just relaxing that day. On Tuesday I was finally able to sleep in! We also did a lot of sight seeing that day also. On Wednesday we had to leave for JFK, once again early in the morning. The flight back was horrible, there were crying babies around me and I couldn’t sleep. Once we got to JFK we had a 6-hour layover, which turned out to be more like 8 hours cause our flight go delayed. We finally arrived in home at 1:00 or so in the morning on Thursday.
The trip was an amazing experience. Being able to share and minister to the people of the Philippines was incredible, but truly I think they ministered more to me! Thanks for reading.... sorry it was so long!