Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Balabac Medical Mission: Headed Home!!

Monday morning we woke up and packed up our stuff to leave. We ate breakfast and we noticed we had a family coming. So we were like, "Ok, we'll help them before we leave." Then one family turned into two families and two families turned into 3. All of a sudden the compound was FULL of people wanting medical help.
Our "examine area" and "waiting room" were filled with people all morning.
One of the patients we met was Reynan. Reynan is a 12 year old boy with a cleft lip and he was SO cute. We asked him if we could put his name on a list of surgery patients, just in case we get some surgeons from the states to come and do free operations. He agreed and we added him to the list.
Another patient we had was named Adela or as we called her Sassy Adela. Adela was 3 years old and she came with her family. Adela did NOT like her temperature being taken or her heart listened to. Come to think of it, Adela didn't like much of anything. lol. She and her family all had malaria symptoms and were given malaria medicine. While her dad was being checked, Adela ran off the porch and began climbing the fence around the compound. Her parents tried to call her down but she wouldn't listen. So Sam sent Allison to go grab her off the fence. Allison had planned to just grab her and carry her back around onto the porch. But when Allison grabbed Adela, she freaked out. She started kicking and screaming and crying. So Allison tried to get her to her parents sooner and decided to pass her up the wall to the porch. Jam assisted her by leaning over the side of the porch to grab her, however Jam lifted Adela with so much force that her head hit the roof of the porch. Lol, so needless to say, Adela didn't like any of us very much. Her parents just giggled and thanked us for getting her back.
Throughout the course of the morning we were all SOO busy and were running around like crazy trying to get everyone taken care of. We helped 103 patients that morning and we ended up running out of malaria medicines and vitamins before lunch. By 2:00 we had finally taken in our last patients, twin baby boys named Bryan and Ryan (Sooo cute!). We didn't have enough medical supplies to do a clinic in the next village, but we were going to spend the night there so that we could catch our boat the next morning.
Our caribou driver came back to help bring our stuff back to the inlet.

Last lunch with the Balabac missionaries
We ate a quick lunch and then gathered our stuff and hiked out. We started out once again wearing our flip flops, don't know why, didn't work out so well the first time. It took us about 5 minutes to realize that flip flops were not going to cut it and we started walking barefoot.
About halfway the guys decided they were thirsty for buko juice (coconut juice). So they cut into a couple coconuts and we enjoyed them and then started on the trail again.
We finally made it back to the inlet and started loading everything into our boat. This time, our boat still resembled a wooden canoe, but it was much larger; so it was able to fit our whole team and all our stuff. So we all got in the boat and started on a 45 min ride through the crocodile infested waters to get to the other side of the island.

We arrived at the village with warm welcomes. We brought our stuff into the hut that we were going to stay in and then just sat outside and observed the day to day activities of the village youth. We saw one little girl, her mother had told us she 7 years old, and we saw her running around with a knife. At first she was chasing the boys with it. Then she grabbed some kind of stale fruit and began to chop it up, just for fun. The mom didn't say anything... guess its just normal for little kids to run around, playing with knives. lol. There is never a dull moment when watching the kids here.
After sitting around for awhile, the guys decided they wanted more buko juice. Jam insisted on getting his own. He climbed and climbed, but couldn't quite climb high enough to get his own coconut. So the natives used their special tools and talents and got us all coconuts. It was our second round of buko juice that day. We felt so spoiled!
Wendy LOVES buko juice.
When supper time came around we were Sooo tired. Having Rice three times a day was starting to get to us. So we all just ate a little bit to make Baboo happy. While we were eating, we all realized that we had known Baboo and Baba for 4 days and we didn't know their names. When we asked Baboo what her name was she replied, "Ako aye si Umot" Suddenly Jam broke into hysterical laughter. When we asked why he was laughing he replied, "Umot means Fart in Tagalog". Later we learned that Baba's name was Bote which is Bottle in Tagalog. So we spent the last 4 days with Aunt Fart and Uncle Bottle. lol. We got a kick out of that. Baboo was one of our most favorite parts of this Medical Mission. We were so happy to have met her! 
Bedtime came and we were really excited. When we were setting up our beds, the owners of the hut told us that we could hang our hammocks inside if we wanted. But we were too nervous that we were going to break the entire house. So we decided to just lay our hammocks on the ground and hang the ropes just for the mosquito nets. Wasn't the most comfortable night sleep, but it wasn't terrible. We were just excited to go home! 
Our hammocks set up on the floor. This is the family whose hut we stayed in. They all just sleep together on the floor.
At 5 am we awoke in our hut. Time to go home! We packed up everything, and after a little effort getting the boys awake, we brought all our stuff to the boat. We get out to the boat and it isn't starting right away, so we all had to wait in calf-deep water for it to start. "What time was it that Baboo's nephew was eaten?" asked Sam. After that realization we were all really scared. We all took turns being on Crocodile watch...Making sure that no crocodiles were trying to sneak up and have a early morning snack. Finally the boat started. Ten of us packed into the boat and set off for the hour boat ride. 
We were heading out to the middle of the sea to wait for the Passenger boat to come through. Only one Passenger goes from Balabac to Rio Tuba per day. (That is if the weather is good.) That day the winds were high and the waves were crashing pretty hard. So we were a little nervous. By the time we reached the place where the boat goes through it was 7 am. After awhile of waiting in the boat, Roy said, "The boat should've been here by now." We waited a little longer, then the driver brought us to a nearby island with white sand and crystal, blue water. "Well, if we're going to be stranded, I don't mind being stranded here." said Tanya. 
Of course, the only way to know if the boat was coming was to call the company. But Roy's phone was dead, and he had the number of the boat company and Wendy's was on its last couple bars of battery. So Roy and Wendy were able to switch batteries and Roy told us the phone numbers and we wrote them in the sand. Then they switched the batteries back and Roy walked around the little island until he got reception. When he finally did, he was met with good news. The boat was on its way, it was just running behind because of the weather. So we just had to chill on this island paradise for a hour....mmmmmmokay!!
The boys, of course, wasted no time and jumped into the water for a swim. Tanya walked along the shore collecting seashells and we made snowmen....well, actually I guess they would be called sandmen. But nonetheless, we were missing home and figured that would be a good way of curing our homesickness. lol.
After waiting an hour, we saw our passenger boat coming in the distance. So we all jumped back into our little boat and chased them down till they stopped the boat and let us on. Hooray!! 
The boat ride to Rio Tuba was less than wonderful....WAY less....the bumpy crashing waves caused us all to get really seasick. It was a good thing we didn't eat breakfast. Finally after 4 hours of tossing in the boat we made it back and Danny picked us up from the port. The truck ride back we spent telling Danny all of our stories from the mission. 
Then Danny asked, "What was the biggest miracle you saw on the mission?"
"Anytime I come back from a medical mission with 2 functioning cameras is a miracle for me." Allison answered.
Lol. We had so much fun and we hope that we will be able to fit another Medical Mission in before we leave in April. I guess we'll see :) Till then...

~Me and Her


Post a Comment