Monday, November 29, 2010

October 16, 2010 - Datal Bukay, Glan, Sarangani Province

Here we are again on a medical mission organized by the 73rd IB of the Philippine Army.

We went off to serve the indigent tribal families in the hinterlands of Datal Bukay, Glan, Sarangani Province.  It was a 2-hour drive from Glan town proper.
 We embarked on a four-wheel-drive truck then went forward, bouncing along the very rocky roads, crossing rocky rivers, bumpy and muddy creeks, and traversing steep and rugged mountain sides.  

ACIM Asia team was composed of 9 volunteers: 2 French, 1 Swiss, 5 Filipino Nurses, 1 Filipino Aide, and a  local doctor from Glan who confirmed his participation at the very last minute. 

The lone doctor labored with complete devotion and managed to serve 330 medical patients at the end of the day.  The dental team served 120 patients and  the circumcision team attended 55 patients. 

While the health mission was going on, a     
peace advocacy campaign was conducted by Kapatid Kapayapaan Council to promote peace awareness among the local residents.

As we traversed our way back to the city, we  solemnly wondered at the experience we just had. Behind the mountains and beyond the river lies a village of humans longing for medical services which were beyond their reach.  What a profound wonder we felt, like we had been some kind of Columbuses who navigated oceans to see a world beyond our consciousness, seeing  people like us who had needs like ours, which we were able to humbly serve.  Some time in your life have you ever felt like a little hero? Well, that's how we felt that day.

And do you know how it felt to see the joys of the villagers in receiving rosary beads?  We felt like we were some kind of St. Francis Xavier.  

But of course, we were just feeling dramatic.  Some more heroic missionaries had served the village before.  How else could the people have known how to pray the rosary before we came? In each of the few houses that we had visited we had seen a simple picture of the Sacred Heart.  So really, it wasn't as if we planted the first Cross in that remote village.  A humbling experience, indeed.  Someone else was more heroic, who traversed the rivers and the slopes BEFORE four-wheel drive trucks were invented!  Cheers to the first missionaries.  God bless and keep their souls.  

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