Bugko. December 2016
Dear members, Dear Friends and Supporters of Mabuhay!
On the weekend 13./14. August my nephew Florian Steffens came to visit Bugko. He did an internship in Manila. After we had seen some of the destroyed houses here in Bugko, he sterted to help.
Dr. Georg Fobes from Bonn came to us for the second time. He brought Florentin von Kügelgen a medical student. Both worked together as a good team from 24 August to 14 September. Dr. Fobes was amazed at the developments in the clinic and Florentin got an impression of the work in a base station, where the diagnostic means are limited. Every day many patients came to consult the new German medical team. Sometimes the examination room shrank to the size of a Trycicle (Motorbike with Sidecar) In addition to the daily clinical work, both of them got an impression of our other program, as well. The fluoride prophylaxis program and the nutritional program, or had to lay hands on transporting our materials for the new houses we constructed after Taifun Melor.
As soon as the two were gone on September 18 th, Dr. Carsten Hansen came to us with his wife Doris from Wildeshausen to support our dental clinic. They had collected many donations, so that the dental station is again perfectly equipped. Both have been sacrificing a part of their holidays for years to help the poor people. Dr. Hansen is particularly keen on the prophylaxis program which was initiated and further supported by the German Dental Association, and so he examined almost all the children from Bugko. Through the continuous implementation of the program he saw first successes and encouraged our volunteers to continue. He performed many treatments and could save some teeth. Unfortunately, for some, there was no more salvation possible and they had to be extracted. Dr. Hansen and his wife are a good team. They also watched our other projects and helped where a help was needed and they gave swimming lessons in their free time.
Our large medicinal plant project was financed by the Rotary clubs Siegburg, Brühl and Bornheim. It took long preparations, but now the project is finished. In the new building, we produce medicines, authorized by the local DOH (Department of Health) , e.g. Lagundi syrup (for cough) and Sambong tea (for kidney disease), Aleo Vera ointment and more. These medicines are intended to bridge the gap between the traditional healers, which are still very common here, and pharmaceutical medicine. Moreover, the medicines are very favorable in the production and therefore easier to acquire for the poor population. Many of our volunteers are already trained in production and others will follow. Next to the production hall was also built a drying room for drying the leaves and a garden with DOH approved medicinal plants.
Here the pictures:
At the beginning of November, we completed our Caritas-Germany-Project. It was an emergency aid after Taifun Melor, which in December 2015 had destroyed large parts of our village. The main focus of the aid was to rebuild the houses for the population. We were able to repair more than 300 houses and even build new ones. It was a great feeling to give people a home again. Many of the inhabitants of Bugko did not have the opportunity to rebuild their houses from their own resources, since they do not have a regular income. It was beautiful to see, that the typhoon had brought people together. They helped each other in the transportation of the materials and the construction of the houses.
Here some examples:
On November 7th, our long-awaited X-ray machine arrived at Bugko. Because of the bad weather conditions, delays occurred, but the greater was the joy. Once again, the help of the German Dentists Association under direction of Dr. Winter helped us. Thanks to the new electrolyte measuring device for our laboratory, also acquired with the assistance of the German Dentist Assosiation and the new x-ray machine, our clinic is now fully equipped for the diagnosis of patients. It is a great relief that we no longer have to send patients to Catarman for diagnosis. The local radiologist reads the films daily and so we have a quick evaluation of the X-ray films. The new laboratory device is a great help in the adjustment of patients with hypertension.
A long eventful year is behind us again. Many patients came to us from all over the province and some even from outside. With your assiatance we were able to provide so much effective help. We had many visitors and were able to complete many projects. Thanks / SALAMAT for all the help and support! We welcome any support. Whether it is a financial support or a donation in kind. I would also like to thank all those who are giving up presents on their birthdays and those who give up the flowers in the difficult hours of the loss of a loved one and instead support our work here. All of you let us feel your relationship through many activities such as Jam sale on the Christmas market or cake sale at school. All this will help those who really need help. Everything comes to the place where it is needed and so I wish you a happy Advent season and a blessed Christmas celebration.
Malipayon nga Pasko (Merry Christmas) from Bugko!
Bugko, in August, 2016
Dear members, dear friends and sponsors of Mabuhay!
From the 15th of April to the 20th of May we had a visit from Luise Fischer and Dennis Pöhlmann. She had finished her dental medicine study in Jena, he his mechanical engineering engineer and also studied in Jena. Both started immediately to work. Again many patients were supplied dental-medically and, as usual with the main focus on the dental preservation. Unfortunately, often teeth could not be saved and had to be extracted. Mr. Pöhlmann repaired all our devices and made servicing services. Unfortunately, people here do not know correct maintenance services and therefore it was a real blessing that Mr. Pöhlmann has been here. During the free hours they gave swimming lessons.
From the 20th to the 22nd of April Mrs. Martina Apphuhn from Caritas Germany came to us. As mentioned in the last newsletter here in Bugko more than 800 houses were damaged and more than 200 completely destroyed by typhoon Melor (December, 2015) Charity Germany granted to our application and supported us with the reconstruction of the houses. Thus the second phase of the reconstruction could be started. The first phase of the emergency relief was made possible by many spontaneous single donations from you, the charitable organisation of the German Dentists and the Olper Franciscan nuns. Even more houses could be repaired with this enlarged help by Caritas Germany and we were able to give the children from Day Care to Highschool a schoolbag and training aids. Moreover, we could straighten a food programme for the children in the Daycare level for 3 months. We put together a core team, so that all construction works were coordinated and fast help could be given. At this meeting the last organizational processes were discussed, so that the project was tackled immediately.
On the 24th of April our „latest voluntary“ Francisca Thea was born. Our Voluntary Eva had a baby for the fifth time.
On May 9, the Philippines chose a new president. Rodrigo Duterte was elected with large majority and is now for 6 years President. Votes were bought again although everyone speaks against corruption, first of all the politicians . The participation in the poll was as always very high and Sr.Veronica and I were called as " Pollwatcher " to monitor that everything was correct.. Luise Fischer and Dennis Pöhlmann were also observers , since they were still our guests . After the election, the voting machines were transported with our ambulance car to Central evaluation at Mondragon .
From May 14th to 15th we were with our volunteers to the annual Pentecost festival at Capul . This is an event of the Diocese of Catarman and is performed as a star pilgrimage. From all parishes pilgrims come to the Pentecost event, which is celebrated as a family festival. Therefore always many children are there. We also went there with our Mabuhay-family and it was a successful event under the theme: " Come Holy Spirit and make our families become missionaries of love and grace." This year there were more than 3000 participants here and as Capul is an island , the transport of all these people was very exciting .
From the 3rd - 5th of June Sr. Magdalena Krol, the Superior General of the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration in Olpe with Sr. Emilie , Sr. Elenor and Sr. Nerissa from the Philippine Province in Baybay , Leyte, were here to visit us. It was the first visit of the sisters and they wanted to get a picture of our work here, because the sisters in Baybay focus their apostolate in the classroom area, they work in schools. Sr. Magdalena was shocked by the conditions in the local provincial hospital . Many patients just lay in the hallway and the hygienic conditions are so inadequate that you can not describe.
On June 19th Dr. Markus Stephan and Karin Spatz, both from Bergisch Gladbach came to us. Dr. Stephan is an ophthalmologist and worked already in Cambodia and Ghana. Mrs. Spatz is Orthoptist (eye therapist) and works together with Dr. Stephan. We are glad that we could both win for our project. The day after their arrival they started to work and since there is no ophthalmologist throughout Northern Samar, patients were lining. Both brought us many medications, eye charts, instruments, measuring apparatus for eye pressure and especially a slit lamp. They first started to determine the need for ophthalmological treatment. After two days Dr. Stephan went to the operating room and performed the first smaller operations such as pterygium, because for this operation is no need for a special eye microscope. Besides the many investigations, some of our volunteers have been instructed for simpler eye exams and the vision screening. Mrs. Spatz made screening in two primary schools and examined children aged between 4 and 6 years for early detection of visual impairment. The need is great and so we will try to get an ophthalmic microscope to make sure that at the next visit, other operations such as cataract can be carried out. In the meantime, we will continue to examine patients and like we do for the operational cases for the doctors from the United States, egister our eye patients who could see through cataract surgery again. You can imagine how hard it is to live in a country like the Philippines without being able to see. Unfortunately, most patients can not afford such an intervention.
A total of nearly 650 patients were examined and many of them were happy to go with a new eyeglass frame to the optician, because glasses could improve their eyesight already. Thanks to all donors of eyeglass frames.
As you can see from the report , in recent months we have had many patients, visitors and events here in Northern Samar. Therefore, the newsletter comes earlier than in past years. Many a time there was overlap in dates, because ther were so many.. The encounters with visitors enrich us again and again and are a boon for the patients who come to us for help . So I'm with my best wishes for a beautiful autumn I am your
Bugko, April 2016
Dear members, friends and sponsors of Mabuhay!
On December 11, our annual general meeting took place and Sr. Veronica and I were looking forward to meet a lot of friends and companions of Mabuhay- Help Life e.V. again and also welcome new friends. Within one year a lot of things happened and our annual meeting is an important possibility to report about our work and to answer questions.
On December 14th, we received the first reports of the very destructive Typhoon Melor, which directly affected our island of Northern Samar. It was the strongest typhoon this island ever has experienced and many people were without shelter, without electricity and by the 20th of February 2016 in Bugko were still 840 homes either damaged or completely destroyed and even our stable built clinic had some damage.
We thank all our friends very much, who spontaneously supported us. We were able to use the money immediately when we returned to Bugko, since the construction works were still in full swing.
Through the help of Rotary Club in Bonn we could expand our sanitary facilities. This was necessary because more and more patients come to us and the hospital is also used as an evacuation center during the frequent typhoons in our region.
For the second time on January 15th, Dr. Georg Lindner from Bad Kötzting was here for three weeks to supply our patients with dental treatment. This time he had brought his wife Evelyn. She worked in our new cafeteria with success, he in our new dental rooms. Also in the distribution of aid to the typhoon they were fully occupied and Dr. Lindner was able to experience the damages of typhoons again. (He had also been here in July 2014 during theTyphoon Glenda ).
On February 26th, my parents came to Bugko for the sixth time. To our delight, this time they were accompanied by Mrs. Susanne Schmidt, our chairman of the association Mabuhay- Help for Life e.V. My father had sent medicines, injections and acupuncture needles in advance and the patient asked weeks in advance when the specialist would arrive. For Susanne Schmidt it was the first visit and she wanted to inform herself about the project. Every day she worked in our new cafeteria and quickly found good contact with patients and children.
On March 2nd, Dr. Paul Radway from
Colorado Springs / USA with his team ISM (International Surgical
Missions) came to us again to perform outpatient surgery. Since many years
patients come to our clinic to be operated for free. Dr. Radway operated
almost without a break and only stopped when the last of of the waiting patients was
supplied. Our volunteers and my father Dr. Korth assisted with great
joy. At the same time in Biri, which is one of the islands of Northern
Samar, over 10 days large operations such as hernias, thyroid,
breast tumors, fibroids, gallstones, colon tumors and lips and
palate surgery were carried out. Also many of our patients were operated there.
The big opening of our multi-purpose
building was on March 6th. Dr. Klaus Winter, the head of the
Association of German Dentists, Dr. Klaus De Cassan and his wife Michaela and Dr. Hans Niebel had come to Bugko for this event. The
Assosiation of German
Dentists had financed this new important project and they were all these years at our side, since the formation of Mabuhay Clinic.
We are indebted to the
Association of German
Dentists, for without the large financial support for our
project over so many years, we would not be where we are today and could not afford so much help. Our Bishop Emmanuel C. Trance celebrated with us the Holy Mass and then inaugurated
the building. Many visitors came from near and far to attend the event and
to see the new building. There is already a great advantage that
we have the extra space in our new building, so we can help our patients better than before. Every day there come more patients and our focus is still to give
good medical care to the poor people. We are still the only institution in
Northern Samar that takes care for these people.
I thank you very much for your wide support. We note again and again
that our concern is also your's. And so I greet you in a
warm closeness and wish everyone a blessed Easter
Salamat (Thank you) from Bugko!