Friday, April 20, 2012

Love Does Not Forget

Remembering the dead... and caring for the living in post-typhoon CDO.

Rebuilding lives does not happen in a few days.  The struggle to rise from the trauma is not yet over for the victims of typhoon Sendong.  The mud and the debris are no longer visible, so it is easy for outsiders to forget the tragedy.  But for the survivors, the losses are still to be recovered, and the daily grind to survive must still be heroically borne.

Though some people who had initially sympathized with the flood victims may have already forgotten them, the mission still remembers and keeps caring.

For this family, the will to live must be accompanied by a determined courage to bear sufferings.
The father of the family, after placing his vulnerable children in a safe spot on a neighbor's rooftop, fought 6 feet of turbulent water to rescue 11 more people, including a heavily pregnant woman, during the flood.  He helped them up to the roof of his house from where they could cross to a higher roof nearby.  After the flood, he suffered leptospirosis as a reward for his valiant rescue efforts.  After 2 weeks of sickness, with the little strength he could muster, he recovered his house from the muck to make it livable again.  That's when he discovered that 7 panels of the galvanized iron roofing were damaged by the rescue efforts.  So his family has to bear with a leaking roof every time there is rain.  He lost communication with his wife who had unfortunately met some employment conflicts overseas.  His youngest girl is sickly, with a congenital malformation in her brain which causes her to have involuntary muscular spasms.  In this picture, she is in the hospital due to an infection.  The mission contributes food items for her sustenance.

Rev. Fr. Timothy Pfeiffer visits an elderly woman in her dark, patch-up shack.
 A paralytic, she is a regular patient of the mission clinic.

An elderly woman lives alone here.
In vain did she try to convince the local government agencies to help her dig out whatever smelled like decaying flesh under the dried-up mud below the wooden flooring of her house. 

 Who knows but God how fervently she now prays for the mission volunteers who took pity on her plight and helped her dig out the mess in her backyard and reconstructed her house to make it habitable again.

Each tent in this village houses a family.  With little imagination, it is easy to understand that only one little bed, if any, can fit inside the little tents.  There's no room for television, computer, refrigerator, air conditioner, closet...  And someone somewhere at this moment is thinking that it would be better for children not to be born if they cannot have the comforts of life.  If life meant nothing without the trappings, how come the people in this village are simply happy to have escaped death?  In the final analysis, life itself is worth more than the trappings.

This child in the mission village is convinced that being alive is a blessing.
But some people somewhere who do not understand the value of life believe that because of poverty this child should have been better off dead.  Some people think that once they have given a little help to the poor, they should not be bothered anymore by continued pleas for help.  And since the the poor don't disappear, these reluctant givers resort to what they think is the final solution:  the elimination of the poor to reduce the burden on the reluctant "society".  But because it would be quite barbaric to propose the killing of poor people, these misguided proponents of poverty-elimation donate their money to the population control fund or abortion advocacy programs believing that the elimination of the poor will ultimately cure the ills of society.
We try to make a difference as Catholics. We care that the poor children and their families do not lose hope.  As they strive to move forward, we quietly support them through the continued medical mission and the Sacraments.  Because we believe that each person, rich or poor, is capable of reaching his noble purpose in life,
with some human help and Divine Grace.

Whatever "existential angst" our suffering neighbors may feel, if only we can find the will to share our Christian faith with them, they can eventually find joy rooted in Christian hope.   
just knowing that the most loving God is real and within the reach of simple faith is enough cause for joy!

As we come to give them hope, children learn to share their blessings too.
And then  they realize that charity blesses the giver.

 hope springs eternal as long as faith is alive

So, we can lose everything, but not hope, courage and the determination to love God forever.

Our work continues...

Despite his hectic professional schedule, Dr. Woo continues the medical mission thrice weekly.  The clinic is a very small bamboo shed but it is a beacon of hope to all the survivors.  Each week (6 hours) sees an average of 105 to 135 patients.  On some days there would be more than sixty patients, but there are rare days when only 25 patients manage to arrive.
On March 3-5, Rev. Fr. Daniel Couture, SSPX Asian District Superior came to visit the mission together with French ACIM President Dr. Jean-Pierre Dickes, and his wife Bernadette - a nurse-midwife, and Ms. Delphine Grouhel, a nurse.  The team came to evaluate the mission and to deliberate on the future of the mission work.
Rev. Fr. Daniel Couture interviewed a survivor, who said simply that he is  more fortunate than others because he is alive and has friends and brothers and sisters in the faith who help him cope. 
Dr. Francisco Woo presented to Dr. Jean-Pierre Dickes the pitiable condition of the affected families.  

The team discussed the possibility of putting up a little shrine in memory of all who perished in the flood and in thanksgiving for the miraculous survival of the living.  The shrine would be in the park where the medical mission continues to operate, where Rev. Fr. Tim Pfeiffer offers Holy Mass for the survivors and for the repose of the dead..... 
They deliberated on how to support a permanent medical mission.
And threshed out the practical details of logistics.
Until they arrived at a happy conclusion.
And encouraged the mission helpers in the work.

A very warm parting at the airport.
Thank you for the visit!  And thank you for your continued support!

1 comment:

p said...

Merci Ms Y. G.