Newsletter 1-2022 Bugko, April 2022
Dear members, dear friends and sponsors of Mabuhay!
In December 2021 I traveled to Germany, despite the tense Corona situation. It was good to meet some friends and my family again. Unfortunately, the incidence values did not allow a meeting like we had in previous years and I was not able to report in detail. That's a pity, but everyone's safety is more important!
During my time in Germany, Super Typhoon Odette (international name Rai) hit the Philippines on December 16, 2021. With almost 200k m/h windspeed and heavy rain, it left a trail of devastation in Southern Leyte, Cebu and Bohol. Over two million people lost everything again without a roof over their heads, without water and food and they experienced a terrible Christmas. In addition houses, shops, gas stations and churches were destroyed. Even ships, cars, cargo containers, and small planes were thrown through the air by the force of the typhoon. The typhoon had the same strength as Haiyan in Tacloban in 2013 and many of you will still remember the pictures on TV. Thank god there was no storm surge this time, so there weren't as many dead people as then, but almost 400 lost their lives anyway. 4 weeks later there was still no electricity in the affected areas and what was almost worse, only limited drinking water. Aid immediately started nationally and internationally, so it seemed that lessons had been learned from the past. The pictures are from the internet, since I was already in Germany at the time.
I received many inquiries about the situation in Bugko. Luckily, or thank God, we were spared there and only for 4 days there was no electricity, just a lot of wind and even more rain, no major damage. There were also floods in places in northern Samar, but the great catastrophe in our region did not happen.
On my return to the Philippines I had to go into quarantine again, but this time only for 5 days. Since I knew what to expect, it wasn't that bad.
On January 20th we had a belated Christmas party for our children in the nutrition program. The Siemens employees had collected books, toys, coloring books, soft toys, etc. and wanted to give them to our children for Christmas. Due to delays in transport, it was January, but the children were equally happy. Sr. Veronica did the same for the children in Bugko who live near the cemetery in December with the toys that you keep sending. In this way, we can also make the children happy at Christmas.
We just made it, because on January 21st North Samar was placed under Alert Level 4 until January 31st due to rapidly increasing corona numbers. That brought with it curfews,
restrictions, etc. again. We thought the situation would improve with the big vaccination campaigns, but that wasn't the case at first. There is still a lot of uncertainty
among the population about vaccination against Corona. In the provincial hospital, 8 doctors tested positive for Covid-19, which meant that the outpatient clinic in the
hospital was closed. And more patients came to us for help. Our doctors at the clinic had their hands full. A lot of educational work has also been done to motivate patients
to get vaccinated.
As mentioned in the last letter, we were at the DOH (national health authority) at the end of 2021. In order to follow the DOH's templates, we had to make another structural change to our diagnostics building. We added a toilet and a changing room, which fortunately went without major problems.
And there is also a room for waste separation and cleaning products.
At the end of January, the good news came that the strict requirements regarding the entry of foreigners will be lifted from February 11th. The quarantine is long gone
and vaccinated people only had to prove a negative PCR test shortly before the flight. At the same time, the alert level changed again.
The war between Russia and Ukraine affected us greatly. The countries have been fighting each other since February 26, and here too, far away, we can watch it on television. The great support for Ukraine from all over the world is impressive and you can see that the leaders of the states stand together when it comes to this. We can also feel the effects of the war here in the rising prices. Not only fuel has become much more expensive, but also consumables,
since everything has to be transported. At the same time, the number of patients fell, since transport to here from the various villages has also become more expensive.
Another piece of good news is that since March 17, the number of infections in North Samar has dropped to zero. The DOH states 0.00% in our province and that gives us hope. No one knows whether it's true, since there are elections here in May and the candidates want to visit their voters.
Since it was now possible, the first thing we did was invite our children to the fluoride prophylaxis program. We started this program years ago with the support of the Aid Organization of German Dentists and have continued to do so. Only the corona restrictions brought it to a standstill. Now we could start again.
Unfortunately, there is still no dentist in sight who can continue on the urgently needed dental treatments. The demand is huge and it also hurts a little that our
excellent dental station has been out of use for such a long time.
The doctor who performs the outpatient surgeries now comes every Friday. She operates on cysts, lipomas, fibroadenomas in the breast, etc. There is a long waiting list because we have not been able to offer outpatient surgeries for almost 2 years due to the corona restrictions.
We now have 100 children in the nutrition program, as it is very difficult for the families at the moment to ensure a balanced diet for the children due to the increased prices. We are glad that the German Club in Manila continues to support us in this matter.
The seniors program in cooperation with Caritas Germany and COSE (a seniors organization in Manila) was officially opened on March 16th, attended by representatives from Caritas Germany, COSE, the province and the city. The seniors had put together a small program. Events such as Zumba, cooking together, games, lectures and even gardening are now taking place every day in the senior day care center. The seniors can contribute according to their own interests and abilities. We were able to get Michelle Moreno, the daughter of one of our volunteers, to organize and coordinate the program and with a small team under the guidance of COSE, she started making the senior day care center a focal point for our seniors in the village. In the future there will be more programs for the seniors, but we decided to do it in smaller steps because this program is unique in North Samar so far and we are still working on what would be good for the seniors to keep them active for as long as possible. Two nurses also come to the center once a week to measure blood pressure, blood sugar levels and to record the complaints of the elderly and, if necessary, to send them to the clinic for further examination.
On March 21st we celebrated our 15th anniversary in the clinic. With our pioneer volunteers, six volunteers have been with us since the beginning and our loyal doctor Dra. Quilatan. Now 82 years old, she still comes once a week to see patients.
On March 28, Dra. Amalia Tirazona came to us. She has previously worked in Catbalogan as a general practitioner and now comes to us for three days per week.
There are exciting months behind us, as you can see from the length of the report, and so I thank you for your various help and youare thinking of us.
And now one last request, it would be nice if some of you who have received my newsletter by post now have an e-mail address, please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. It saves a lot of work, paper and postage if we can send the newsletter by e-mail. Thanks in advance to everyone who can support us in this matter. Everyone else will of course continue to receive it.
And so I greet you with warm solidarity and wish everyone a blessed Lent and Happy Easter despite Corona and the war in Ukraine.
Salamat (thanks) from Bugko!