Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Screening for Mabuhay Desert Foundation

It is about 10:30 at night, I'm reflecting about the day, what do I feel?
Traveling out of the inner-city of Manila and into the countryside for about 3 hours
I spent the day helping Elder and Sister Stroud in their role as Mormon Helping Hands or maybe LDS charities. In fact I still am not sure what their missionary calling is. I know that Welfare is somewhere involved. They have projects that the Webb's started and they have projects of their own. This project had to do with assisting the man screening people for a fit with the operations and Doctors that the Mabuhay house offers to those who cannot pay.
Sister and Elder Stroud came about three or four weeks after we did. They are from North Ogden, Utah
The Strouds told Jimwel Ambes a regional Screener for the Mabuhay house that they would help him out this Monday. Since I had a day free due to intake week, I went along to help and experience something different..........and it was an experience......and it was different.
This is Jimwel V. Ambes. He is standing in front of the board that we had the potential patients for the Mabuhay house stand beside with their information so I could take their picture to add to their file
When we arrived the chapel or main part of the church was full of people waiting in chairs. There were old people, and young people and babies in arms. One man immediately showed me his arm that was....well...rubbery looking. His arm between his elbow and wrist wasn't straight and when he moved his elbow it hung the wrong way. I told him I only took pictures and that a doctor would talk to him soon. Some ladies in yellow uniforms directed all the people into organized places and helped register all of them.
My job was to take pictures though I ended up writing down all the people who had been accepted to see the doctors because it made the process faster.
These signs hung outside of the church gate to let people know they could come to get screened here
One at a time a person or mom and child would come sit down by the doctor and explain what they needed or felt was wrong. Several of the people were given a prescription or names and numbers to call of others who could help them with their particular problem. One guy had pink eye and several of the older folks needed glasses not cataract surgery. The doctor was a young woman from Nepal who is a doctor in a residency program. Jimwel Ambes is the regional screener for Mahbuhay and he would check some obvious kids for cleft lip/palate and club feet and sign them up. The doctor took a look into all the eyes with a special light to check for all kinds of problems. Some she could refer to the Mabuhay house and some were given referrals to other places or a prescription.

In the morning when Jeffrey and I prayed, I asked God to help me feel compassion and not pity. To me compassion is caring for others and pity is feeling sorry for someone. I found it was all in the perception. Walking into a room full of people with noticeable problems in life could have brought overwhelming and helpless feelings. Instead I concentrated on how well the people lived with struggles and how cute the children were. I was able to note how inventive, smart and creative they were in solving life-style struggles. I loved the "shoes" an eighty year old man with two club feet had - curled rubber so his feet didn't touch the ground. I felt gratitude that so many doctors would come and give their talent and efforts for free to men, women and children in need. I was also very happy that the screener and doctor could refer other services to those who needed many different kinds of relief. Compassion can urge me to do something. Pity pulls me down.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Pagsanjan Falls

After the root canals, extractions, deep fillings, wisdom teeth problems, and emergencies, we had a free day to go on a trip - to Pagsanjan Falls. The Strouds had just gotten back the night before from assembling 250 student chair/desks for a school and told us about their amazing trip. As we traveled along and saw interesting things, I'd noted some of them to which Sister Stroud replied, "You don't get out much." Nope, but every three weeks there is a window of opportunity.
Getting to and from is an adventure all by itself but I'll just focus on the trip up the river to the falls.
Contemplation - peaceful river before we started up to the falls
Noted these canoes being hauled up the river by one motorized boat
We were all fitted out with helmets and life-preservers though our guides did not, nor did they wear shoes
Stewarts ready to go - I teamed up with them as Jeffrey had a bum knee this week
Two per canoe (except the Stewarts and I) with two guides each, as we got into the river our guides latched onto the boats being pulled up the river with the motorized canoe
This is the way to ride a canoe - someone else is paddling
The river narrowed and we found we were going upstream. The canyon walls just got narrower and narrower as the guides paddled the canoes along.

The guides paddled and pushed off the rocks with their feet and hands
Sometimes they pulled the canoe over the rocks and rapids, always pushing off with their legs and arms
Imagine being in an amusement ride that is powered by humans rather than motors
We would shoot along narrow channels and off large boulders as the guides would shove off rocks, jump in and out all without shoes or gloves
Every eddy of calm would round the corner to another set of rapids - 16 set in all we were told
Beautiful jungle ravines with black rocks, vegetation and fallen boulders

The guides lifted our canoe onto some heavy pipes in some places to facilitate travel over rocks

Lifting canoe over the pipes again
Hauling canoe up and over rapids
Disneyland doesn't have quite this much adventure on their rides - though I knew I was safe the thought did come that one slip up and I'd need my helmet
We came to a landing point and got out of the canoes (yes I have awkward disembark pictures that I'm not showing)
And there it was Pagsanjan Falls - with rafts going out to view the falls 
I did note the raft in front of us was submerged slightly in water and remembered the line in the brochure: Prepare to get wet.
Some different guides pulled our raft out and another raft in at the same time

Everyone on the other raft was soaked

That is when we noted the line went into the falls not behind the falls
To future travelers - YOU WILL GET WET

And what fun it is to have a torrential shower
Everyone lived and survived the falls

Trip back to the landing point

The Strouds (who planned this trip)  having survived the falls
Pagsanjan Falls
The trip back was quicker and of course more peaceful, so we looked at the beautiful scenery we may have missed on the way up.
Fabulous sights that could never be duplicated in a Disneyland ride

Riding in a canoe down from the falls
The guides hooked us on to the motorized boat until we reached the resort we started from

What a great, fun, adventurous day - and that doesn't even include the travel drama (but that is a different story.)

Friday, February 24, 2017

Songs That Run through my Head

Watching the squall rush towards our buildings, I was thankful to be inside a solid building and not on a boat.

Mountains disappear and the sky darkens - out of the other window I can see sunshine
The wind was churning, strong, yet pockets of sun would spill  here and there
"The Winds and the Waves shall obey thy will....."
"Master the Tempest is raging, the billows......?"
"No water can swallow the ship where lies the Master of ocean and earth and sky......"
"They all shall sweetly obey thy will, peace be still...."
"And ponder on the beauty of the earth made clean again....."
"I want to be the best I can, and live with God again....."
"I like to look for rainbows whenever there is rain..."
Cleaning up the apartment, going past window and window humming and singing verses to songs as the scenery seem to dictate.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Conference Sunday

These beautiful girls are in my Primary class. Last Sunday they sang with the rest of the Primary in Sacrament meeting for ward conference. They all did a really great job. The boys wore white shirts with grey ties and it was a lot of fun to watch them.
The boys in the class seem to change every week so I'm not sure which boys are actually in my class besides Anya because he is always there.
Anya has the most contagious smile though I have never heard him speak. He is in a world of his own that is happy.
I'm not sure if the children change classes when they have a birthday or if they just put different kids into different classes that work for them.
I'm having a lot of fun being a teacher again.