Global Health Engagement – Team Philippines Update #2
We have just concluded our second week of global health engagement in the Philippines and so far we are having a blast! Our team of 12 is broken into two teams of 6, so the two teams have been rotating through the different clinics. Last week you heard from team 1 (Dominique, Megan, Michelle, Erin, Christen, and Dr. Miller) this week you will be hearing from team 2 (Veronica, Nicole, Bree, Nancy, Lizzy, and Dr. Penny).
July 8-14 UST AMRC:
The first clinic we had the opportunity to work in was a part of the UST Hospital’s private sector. Here we worked in the rehabilitation center where physical, occupational, and speech therapy is offered. We were first given a tour of the clinic’sfacility, but we remained mostly in the main room that hosted most of the physical therapy patients. After the tour, we were then paired with physical therapy interns who were all students at UST. All the interns are well equipped with knowledge because they are in their fifth, and final, year of their program. We were able to shadow and observe our interns in their dailywork routine. From this, we recognized that they provide not only physical but emotional care for their patients as well. These students made an effort to make their patients feel comfortable while going through the healing process; thus, making the rehabilitation facility a warm environment. Overall, the UST Rehabilitation Clinic allowed our team to look at the benefits of a private healthcare organization, and the impact it had on both the patients and the health care professionals.
Our first day at the UST hospital was, as the staff would say, toxic (busy, busy, busy). Over the next four days, we saw dozens of patients—some even multiple times. Most of our time observing, but we were also invited to assist in simple exercises, allowing us a more hand-on experience. The majority of patients we saw were geriatric, most commonly stroke patients, as well as athletes and some children with both musculoskeletal and neurological conditions.
In addition to gaining practical healthcare experience, we were able to connect with our patients and interns alike. The patients were eager to talk with us and ask all sorts of questions about our studies and our purpose for being in the Philippines. Some even taught us a bit of Tagalog! We got to know the interns most in our down time. It was inspiring to see these aspiring professionals so invested in their work, but even more rewarding to have real and genuine conversations with them between patient care. At the end of the week, a large group of us went out to dinner and feasted on a variety of Filipino foods that the interns arranged for us. The entire AMRC staff was so welcoming, and we are truly blessed to have worked with them.
July 15 Catholic Mass:
We had the opportunity to attend an on-campus Catholic mass on Sunday with several of the students from UST. The service was interesting to witness. The Priest was engaging, funny, and sweet. We were free to participate as much as we were comfortable. We were only able to understand most of the service, as some of it was in Tagolog!
This week (July 15-21) has been a little crazy due to weather! We had a monsoon blow in, which has caused torrential downpours. Our activities on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday were cancelled due these conditions. During “down days” we would stick close to campus. We played cards, went to the nearby mall to buy souvenirs if the weather was okay, did homework, watched movies in our rooms, or grabbed meals. By the end of the week, we were tired of being cooped up and ready to get back out into the clinics!
July 15-21 REACH Foundation:
Unfortunately, we were only here for Monday and Thursday, but working at REACH was a true blessing. Being able to witness their work was a very humbling experience, the therapists, teachers, and interns at REACH are so patient and kind to their patients. They welcome them with songs and say good bye with beautiful, kind words. We were able to partake in some of the care they provided. Seeing the smiles on the children’s faces was heartwarming, especially after hearing each child’s story from the therapist and interns, it really made us think about why we are truly here. We took advantage of the little time we spent at REACH to build relationships with the interns, foreign exchange students (from Canada), and the hard-working therapists. All of the members that work for REACH were very inviting and treated us with so much respect and kindness. We will definitely miss spending time with them and being part of the wonderful work that they do.
Saturday July 21st Excursion:
After being cooped up for three days this week we were ready for an adventure! For our 2nd excursion, we spent the day visiting Taal Volcano located on the island of Luzon. Taal Volcano is the second most active volcano in the Philippines. This volcano offers one of the most attractive views in the Philippines. It is located about 31 miles south of Manila. Our day started around 7am. We travelled for about 4 hours on a Grab (local Uber), bus and tricycle until we reached our final destination. Once we arrived we had lunch which consisted of a variety of delicious foods: noodles, chicken adobo, soup, steamed rice, and shrimp. We ate, talked, and played games with our team and two of the UST sports science students. We then went on a 20-minute boat ride to the island where Taal Volcano is located. It was one of the funniest boat rides ever! We were not expecting to get soaking wet, which was what made the whole boat ride fun. Once we arrived at Luzon island we took some pictures and visited the local souvenir shop. The locals living on the island were very sweet and welcoming. We left the island around 4pm and didn’t get back to campus until around 8:30pm. It was definitely a very fun and adventurous day for us all!
Sunday July 22 Christian Church Service:
This morning we visited a Christian church called Victory Christian Fellowship. We all felt very at home with our Filipino brothers and sisters. The experience was refreshing for our team. The worship was encouraging, the message was Christ-centered, and the people were so welcoming. They even accommodated us by having the service mostly in English and providing translators for those parts that were in Tagalog. We are hoping to be able to invite nonbelieving students with whom we have been working at the university to this church as a means of plugging them in to a Christian church.
As we wrap up our trip please be praying for:
• GOOD WEATHER: If it continues to downpour, they will continue to cancel our clinic days!! 🙁
• Good relationships: We will be shifting into new clinics next week (Team 1 will be at the UST physical therapy clinic for the first time and Team 2 will be at the Philippine Heart Center for the first time). We want to build good relationships with the interns.
• Good conversations: Ultimately, we want to shine our Light and share His Truth!
• Good health: Many of us have stayed well, but please continue to pray for good health for our team!
• Lasting relationships: We have made pretty close friendships with many of the interns that we have met and we have connected with them on social media. Several of them will be coming to CBU in February!
Thanks for reading our long blog! We will be posting one final update before we head home!
-Team 2 (Veronica, Nicole, Bree, Nancy, Lizzy, and Dr. Penny)