Friday, November 22, 2013

Yolanda Day 2: Sikatuna Chapel: Refugees in Cebu

Day 2:

I slept on the floor last night. I’m told most Filipinos sleep on the floor at home as well. Someone brought in their extra special “high-tech” mat for me to sleep on last night to make sure I was comfortable :).

(This is my high-tech mat. I'm using my airplane pillow and towel for a blanket.)

A Filipina nurse, who is six months pregnant slept on the floor next to me for a portion of the night before getting a ride home with one of the church members here. She’s been spending many hours working as a nurse here at the chapel with the refugees.

Doris went to class last night but had stayed with me the entire day before and came back after class to make sure i had someone to sleep with me in the room they had given for the night at the chapel.

It stormed loudly, so much rain that even just the sounds of falling water was loud enough to wake me up. All I could think of was all the people, that I hear, are now waiting in a five day long line to get evacuated from Leyte province (the effected island), here to Cebu and other places, standing in that rain.
Food is being forced upon me right now. :) I need to go. I hate that I have so much food here and there are people I can’t yet get to that have very little or none.

At breakfast I just met another woman who lost her husband in the flood. She says he was “washed away in the wave” and that he had to be buried in a mass grave. I’m told this is adds salt to the wound as Filipino tradition is to have the body on display and to mourn for a week. So a mass burial is kind of like disrespecting the dead.

I also found out at breakfast that I am an old maid and that I will have to get married after I am dead. :)

That is if Loralei (the nurse who is 6 months pregnant) hasn’t found my ideal match by the end of the week out of every single man she knows ranging from age 18 to 100.
I’m at the clinic now. I’m so happy that as I was packing the night before I left that state to find that I still had a bit of room in my suitcase, so I went to the store to get as many supplies as I could before I left. As I strolled through the first aid section, something that should have been so obvious caught my eye: Athlete’s foot treatment. What a no-brainer. Thoughts of trekking through water and all the foot problems that come with it. How had I not thought of this sooner! Stupidly I only grabbed on can of spray. I’ll have to find more here and get some as it’s proved so far to be one of the most valuable items I’ve brought.

Two women in particular had foot infections so bad that almost the entire sole of their feet had peeled back and they had a hard time walking with the deep lesions in the soles of their feet, along with toes that were completely covered in infected skin and gnarly hanging pieces of flesh. However, I’m SO happy that the medication is working so well, and so quickly. I’ve only seen one of the women so far today but she was all smiles when she came in and I sprayed her feet again. She’s walking better already and the infection is almost completely gone. If nothing else, so far, and already, we’ve made a difference to these women. I can’t tell you how good it feels to see people heal, physically and otherwise. One woman commented on how a few of the children I've already attached to, have relaxed and opened up since I've been playing with them. I'm always thankful for kind people who say kind things, giving encouragement and meaning to help I'm trying to give. Help I hope is truly helpful and useful.

I took a picture today, I wish I would have thought to take one before I treated it.

  (This is the foot of one of the women after just two or three treatments. It looks great here, especially compared to what it was. I can't believe how quickly it has healed. I'm so pleased!)

(This skin has closed up and she is able to walk!)

The neosporin (compliments of Janelle Bentz and family), is of course, also being put to good use as nearly every one of the survivors has lesions and cuts of some sort, which before were just be treated with iodine and gauze. We’re going to need much more of it despite the 8 tubes I brought with me as they will need continued treatment and as these refugees find more permanent housing and the next group comes in. I’m assuming as they come in they will have more severe problems as they’ve gone longer without treatment and they are living in daily dangerous circumstances. UGH, and 5 day lines!? Five days?! And that’s after they’ve fought through who knows what just to get to the aide stations where they can get in line.

I know it must all sound so very melodramatic but I don’t think I could ever  adequately explain or understand enough to explain, what the people have been through. And I’ve only seen thirty people. I might just have to stop writing all together when I get to Ormoc and see what I'm trying to prepare myself for knowing what must await us there. It just hurts and inspires so much.


After clinic. There are 20 children and 10 adults here of the 30 refugees. Nearly all of them have cuts and scrapes, most of which are healing nicely after even just a few days treatment. I gave my camera to one of the kids here from Cebu and he had fun documenting wounds and taking pictures of all of us today during clinic time.

 (At first the children were scared and hesitant to be seen. By day two, they were fighting over who's turn it was in the chair :). They're adorable.

 (This guy had a awful ear infection. We were cleaning clumps and clumps of dirt out his ears even with cleaning it three times a day. It was a never-ending task)

(Out little clinic. I can't wait for you to see the comparison pictures at the end of the trip. To think, this is how we started out.)

It’s beautiful they way all the children look after, help and protect one another. One boy held all the feet and spots with cuts while I dressed them.

He is also going to accompany me to the temple when I go there to meet up with the other group today to find out the plan for going to Ormoc.
I’m very please with how healthy the refugees we have here right now are. Just have to keep the cuts clean and most of them came through surprisingly unharmed, or at least no permanent harm.

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