Monday, March 25, 2013

March 20-23: Medical Mission in Palawan

 Upon the request of the Philippine Marines, we conducted medical missions in two different remote areas in Palawan.  


 Our team was composed of Fr. Onoda, Sheryl Ocampo, Marie Dewynter, Marie Helene Fontaine, and Eleni Felinska. We arrived in Palawan on March 20 and did the finalized the organization of the mission. We conducted the first medical mission on March 21 in New Camaray, Roxas, where the people were very poor and lived in difficult conditions, and were thereby easily lured into joining the New People's Army, a communist rebel group that works to destabilize the government and promote communist ideology.  We were able to serve 481 patients.  

Around forty people attended the Holy Mass, and 10 received Holy Communion.  Rosaries, scapulars, and miraculous medals were distributed.

 We went to Teneguiban in El Nido on March 22.  We were able to serve 472 patients that day.  

  The people appreciated the mission.  
Fr. Onoda was touched.  He says that if there will be another occasion, he would like to continue to respond positively to the request from the Philippine Marines.  

On March 23, we packed the remaining medicines and supplies and went swimming.  Who could resist the wonderful beach?

The military command that invited us to come to Palawan is the same group that Fr. Onoda visited in Sulu.  They had been reassigned to Palawan where they saw the health needs of the natives and asked Fr. Onoda for medical assistance.  When the military sent their request for a medical mission, they simply said it would be for the poor natives in the area.  Without knowing exactly where in Palawan the mission would be, Fr. Onoda granted the request.  How greatly and happily surprised he was to discover that the mission would find him in El Nido!  
A simple act of charity has brought us to a little paradise.  How wonderful!  Deo gratias!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Feb 25 - Mar 1, 2013: Iloilo Mission

A million thanks to everyone 
who supported the RMHM 2013 in Iloilo!
We would like to thank all you wonderful people 
who made the 2013 Rosa Mystica Health Mission a success:

  • All the volunteers who came from France, USA, Belgium, Poland, Malaysia, and various parts of the Philippines to help, paying their fare to and from the mission.
  • All the donors who gave medicines, medical supplies, food, rosaries, holy pictures, scapulars, prayer guides, and cash to pay for the medicines and different supplies needed for the mission.
  • The generous people who opened their homes to give free lodging to some volunteers.
  • The government officials and rural health unit staff of the municipality of Sta. Barbara who gave active support towards the organization and the delivery of the mission.
  • All who prayed for the intention of the mission.
  • All the SSPX priests, brothers, and oblates, and those in their care, who provided solid moral support to the mission.
  • All anonymous helpers, human and spiritual, who worked behind the scenes silently and invisibly.  
Dr Jean Pierre Dickes of France

Mdm Bernadette Dickes of France

Dr Gilbert Dichard of France

Mdm Danielle Dichard of France

Mr Hubert Terninck of France
Dr Anne Jochaud du Plessix of France   

Dr Emely Lagare of General Santos City

Dr Ma June Viray of Iloilo

Dra Elizabeth Phalen of USA

Dra Elaine Araneta of Manila

Delphine Grouhel of France

Dr Lee Versoza of Manila

Magali Burguburu of France

Brigitte Coulange of France

Adeline Puts of France


Marie Liesse Tilloy of France

Christina Meinholz of USA

Melinda Khor of Malaysia

Rev Fr Francois Castel of France

Melanie LeBlanc of USA

Marie Helene Fontaine of France

Brigitte Pecot of France

Fr Coenradd Daniels and Brothers of St Bernard Novitiate

Caroline Vergez of France

Sophie Challan Belval of France

Eleni Felinska of Poland/Germany

Soline Riquet of France

Dr Zoe Sucaldito of Iloilo, Phil

Mar 2013: Iloilo - From Night to the Dawn of Understanding

A close up of the situation of the ordinary folks

Honestly, before we came to Iloilo, we doubted that the poor in the area could be as poor as in other mission areas so it was a surprise to discover otherwise just by listening to the sounds of the night.

 Tale of a Watchman

 The last day of the medical mission was in Jaro, in the parish hall.  And since we just piled the boxes of medicines on the open stage, each of us had to keep watch at appointed hours at night.  One could hear sounds in the dark -- metal creaking, gravel crunching, footsteps, and every now and then voices high or low, hushed, or excited, or even angry.  The night was as dark as night should be, but sounds of people moving in the deep shadows kept the watch lively.
  At daybreak, no cock crowed but a man coughed loudly from the nearby bushes.
 A little later, a chorus of girlish laughter came from beyond the shrubs.
 Vendors calling people to buy fish cruised along the streets as the sun burst out in the sky.
In broad daylight, a random look outside the perimeter of the church explained the sounds of the night.
  Above is the picture of the Church, taken from across the street.
To the left of the Church, there is an alley leading to some residences.  On the sidewalk of the alley there was a boy drawing water from an open well.  No wonder we could hear regular movement from this part even in the darkness.
I asked the boy what he would like to use the water for, and he explained it was for bathing and dishwashing. I asked if he was a frequent user of the well, he affirmed.  I asked if, on his regular visits to the well, he ever had the chance to get to know somebody in the Church, and he said no.  What a pity.  He has been coming to this well for years but he has yet to discover that living water is just a few steps away from his favorite well!
A view of the same well from inside the church fence.
I hadn't seen such kind of open well being used as a source of household water in many of our mission areas. This particular neighborhood did not look poor by regular standards, and people hereabouts appeared better-groomed than most people in our other mission areas, so it was a total surprise to discover that many folks in the neighborhood still drew water from a well that was so vulnerable to various pollutants.  It was disconcerting. 
I have seen so many faces of poverty in this poor country, but I did not expect to see this in a city. 
Following some noise coming from the right side of the Church's perimeter fence, I peeped through the grills.  There is another alley there.  And across the alley, I saw another well.  This time it is covered, and has a pitcher pump attached to it.  There is a line of young people with their carts and plastic containers waiting for their turn to fetch water.
 So here is the other source of nocturnal sounds that kept the night watch interesting.
 The girls' chorus at dawn came from this side.
This well is probably the place to start a public information system.
Through the Church gate I could see a boy heading home with his water-laden cart.
A pedal trike passed by too.  It was the regular form of transportation on the byroads - another unique face of poverty not common to all mission areas.  In other mission areas, we could see motors or big animals transporting goods and people.  It is uncommon to see people being hired as work animals or environment-friendly replacements to motors.
Just across the gate is a little shack.  Guess what's inside...  
An internet and computer game station! It was an open secret...

A shack with a little green paint could be seen a few steps across the street. It is an eatery.   
 Guard duty done, we managed to slip out and take a tricyle trip to conduct a home visit.

      To deliver additional medicines to a child patient living in the outskirts of Sta. Barbara.
     And to check his progress after some days of medication.  
It was a short and pleasant visit. He was a nice boy.
He knew his basic prayers already and his mother proudly told us that he joins the daily Rosary of the family.
We then bade goodbye to Eleni Felinska, a Polish volunteer who was leaving for Manila after weeks of mission work in Iloilo.
Thank you for your outstanding patience and dedication, Eleni.  
You're wonderful! Bravissimo!
 Then we settled into night watch again
and heard the same repertoire of nocturnal sounds.
By them we could better understand the challenges of the mission in Iloilo.