By coming to the gym this morning, we attend a nice ceremony that takes place every Tuesday: the tribute to the flag. There's a crowd, lots of uniforms, even a prisoner truck! Speeches, Philippine flag balloons, applause. We love our country here!
Day Three: Tuesday, April 10, 2018
In front of the gym, it's already crowded. The first patients arrived as early as four in the morning. They begin a long wait, the time to register, to wait in the first zone, to be referred to the care requested, to wait again, to have their consultation, to wait again in front of the pharmacy, to receive their medication, and if necessary, to be registered by Cristina for the hospital. All this lasts between four and six hours.
During the waiting period, Father Tim, Father Peron, the Bethanian Sisters, the Ladies of the Legion of Mary and some volunteers were at work: catechism courses, the imposition of scapulars and miraculous medals, learning the rosary, commitments in the Militia of the Immaculate. Isabelle is the host of the Children Area. Never out of ideas, she organizes games, cut-outs, songs, and decorates a panel with colorings of animals, princesses and miraculous medals! It's one thing to cure real health problems, but for most Filipinos, it's the simple fact that they're being cared for that does them good. A smile, a song, a gift, a picture with them, and the hearts are won!
Among the patients, there are many problems related to hygiene and nutrition. Doctors see respiratory problems, diabetes and infections. For the more serious cases, in particular goitres, it is necessary to foresee a passage by the hospital, and thus of the expenses which the mission will have to take in charge.
A man in bad shape comes to consult, he had had angioplasty (operation on blood vessels) in 2012, probably following a heart attack, and his condition is worrying, he has done nothing for six years to treat himself. Here, people suffer and accept their life as it is, without trying to improve it. The mission's doctors are their miracle of the year: they will have unimaginable medical care outside this context.
Otherwise, a child comes almost blind. Josephine finds her head abnormally small: apparently, the mother was seriously ill during pregnancy, and the child removed a brain malformation. Again, nothing can be done on site, so hospital examinations should be ordered. Compared to other years, Brigitte, our favourite pharmacist, has the impression of giving less medication, because patients come mainly for minor surgery, or to have a prescription that will have them treated free of charge at the hospital.
During this time, Father Rostand, who had spent two years in the Philippines twenty-five years ago, instead went outside to continue the Mary's Mission. For our new readers, just one explanation: a delegation from the Legion of Mary goes with a priest to a nearby baranguay, the chief catechist recalls some notions of religion, then proposes medals, scapulars and entry into the Militia of the Immaculate. In general, people are happy, they see protection and support in their difficult lives.
This day we go to Sulit Polomolok, where there are already eighty Catholics. The "fishing" is good, we leave with seventy-seven new registrants. Let's pray they persevere! The priest must also administer an extreme unction a little further. The priest's visit to a house is always a great honour for the guests so they want to thank, and there, as they had nothing at home, they went to buy a sandwich at Jollibee, the local MacDonald's !
To end the day in beauty, after having seen no less than five hundred patients, we are invited by the Eagles for a quality dinner.