Newsletter 1-2019                                                                      Bugko, April 2019


Dear members, dear friends and supporters of Mabuhay!


In December I spent two weeks in Germany and was glad to see many of you at our annual general meeting on December 14th. Many of you make a long journey to hear what's new about "Mabuhay". Also in the year 2018 a lot had happened again and so there was again a lot of information, pictures and exchange on this evening.


On December 28th, I went back to Bugko. This time I was accompanied by Mrs. Jutta Schimmel, a neighbor, who just wanted to see what we do in the clinic. Her three weeks were filled with many experiences, as shortly before our arrival in the Philippines storm Usman hit Northern Samar and caused a lot of destruction. In many places there were floods and landslides, so that entire villages were cut off. I have described some of this in my special report. Ms. Schimmel helped with the various relief shipments and nutrition programs, but her main focus was on the medicinal plant project. She exchanged ideas with our "herbalists" and together they tried new recipes.


I would like to thank for the many spontaneous donations you have sent after my special report about storm Usman. Especially the relief organization of the German Dentists and the German Club in Manila. Through this aid, we have been able to help immediately, not only in distributing food and toiletries, but also clothing, school supplies, cooking utensils, detergents, medicines, shovels, tarpaulins, and construction materials. Again, so many people have lost their homes and it is admirable how they always start from scratch. This great help is only possible with your help for us.

From January 22 to February 1, to our great delight, Dr. Markus Stephan and Mrs. Karin Spatz from Bergisch-Gladbach came to us. Dr. Stephan is an ophthalmologist and Spatz Orthoptistin. They were two days late because the weather did not allow a landing at Catarman airport. Two years ago, they had their first assignment with us and  we talked about the possibilities of eye surgery. For the patients there is no ophthalmologist on site. It was set up an eye examination room and after many preparations, Dr. Stephan literally made blind people seeing. Mrs. Spatz assisted him all the time and both are a good team. In the large suitcases they had with them were many medicines, instruments, eye drops and diagnostic equipment. A giant help, since these instruments and eye drops are hard to get here. Many of the operated patients reacted very emotionally when their first bandage was removed. They could actually see the first time and move without help. During the healing process, the vision of the cataract patients improved significantly. A total of 17 cataract operations and 12 pterygium operations were performed. A start has been made and every day patients come for eye consultation, so we already see patients for the next assignment of Dr. med. Stephan and Mrs. Spatz. I hope they will come back very soon!

On the 10th of February the dentist Dr. Lindner and his wife Evelyn from Bad Kötzting came to us for the fifth time. Followed by the students of dentistry Laura Münzberg and Alexandra Petker (both from the University of Aachen) and Chiara Pantke (University of Freiburg). Under the supervision of Dr. Lindner, the students worked tirelessly in the dental station. Unfortunately, there were many teeth that could not be obtained. The students learned a lot  and were able to apply what they had learned to the patient. It was a happy group that did a lot together in their free time.

From 13.-15. February we had a short visit from Olpe / Biggesee. Sr. Magdalena Krol, Superior General of the Franciscan Sisters of Olpe, came to see us with Markus Feldmann, one of the managing directors of the Olper Franciscan Society, to get to know our different programs and, above all, to see the everyday life of the clinic. In addition, they could also see something of the culture and life of the Philippinos.

Like the years before, the team from ISM (International Surgical Mission) from Colorado / USA came to the clinic on 18th of February to carry out the outpatient operations and the operations in general anesthesia in Biri, an offshore island. This year the team consisted of 31 volunteers. This year, 74 patients were treated with cysts and lipomas by Dr. med. Tracy Taggart and Dr. Tara Dixon. Twice as many as the year before. Both are experienced surgeons and have already volunteered in other countries.

From the 3rd to the 8th of March Dr. Klaus De Cassan of the German Dentists' Association (HDZ) came to train the volunteers in the Fluoroprophylaxis Program and to answer questions. It was a two-part seminar with theory and practice. The practical part took place in our dental clinic and was attended by children of the Fluoroprophylaxis Program and their mothers. The focus of the seminar was on training in proper oral hygiene and good nutrition. Unfortunately, the children's problem is still eating too much sweets and not doing proper dental care. Therefore, so many teeth still have to be pulled here, as a tooth preservation is often impossible. For 10 years now we have this program and the first successes are slowly starting, because only by continuous training of children in the correct dental hygiene  success can be achieved. Our volunteers serve as transmitters for the children.

On March 11, Mrs. Isabelle Seibert and on March 20 Jessica Tu, both young dentists from the University of Mainz. They stayed four weeks each and were quickly at the dental office at home, trying to get as many teeth as possible. Unfortunately, there were many extractions again because the teeth were too carious. In addition to the dental ward, they also saw many children of the fluorine prophylaxis program.

On the 20th of March my dear parents returned to Bugko. Unfortunately, they had to cancel last year and so the patients were happy when they saw the orthopedist with his wife again. Old and young patients were in good hands with them. Fewer patients than expected came this year as rice harvesting, graduation ceremonies and election events were held. Overall, they treated more than 800 patients and performed even minor surgical procedures. Since we had some more free time we used it to talk about changes and improvements in the clinic.

From April 13 to April 15, Fr. Hans Langendörfer, secretary of the German Bishops 'Conference with Mrs. Dr.Stenert, the radio-consultant of the Bishops' Conference. Father Langendörfer came for the second time. His first visit is 10 years back and he was amazed at what had happened. He blessed the "indoor" playground that could be installed with the support of the Hoffmann Foundation. The children here hardly know such a thing, and the greater was the joy. The kids did not want to go home. The slide into a pool of balls was the highlight. As a supporting program there were games, a magician and of course spaghetti for the children. To our great pleasure we will also build an outdoor playground for the older children. Preparations are in progress and I will report about it in the next newsletter.

There are four busy and intensive months behind us, as you can see from the length of the report, and so I thank you for your help.  We notice again and again how our concern here is yours. And so I greet you in cordial solidarity and wish all a happy Easter.


Sabine Korth
Salamat (Thanks) from Bugko!