We have left Tabuk on the looong way to Canada. We took the 12 hour bus ride last night and are now in Manila awaiting our flight to Davao. While in Davao we will attend the going-away party of our former volunteer, Abigail and visit Mercy Maternity Center where I trained in 2004. Then another flight back to Manila and we will be on our way to Canada! This picture really says it all about the long trip ahead of us. 🙂
Our second outreach in upper Tinglayan was carried out with more smoothness and excellence than we could have dreamed. We spent five days hiking through five different Butbut villages that we had never visited before and we held outreaches in three of those villages. We were more excited than five year olds on Christmas morning as we set off on our adventure hiking through the mountains. That excitement turned into overwhelming joy with ecstatic smiles that grew bigger with every new village we entered. We were warmly welcomed in each village and were repeatedly thanked for coming to visit. Each outreach started with a game to get everyone laughing, worship and devotion, a health teaching, a yummy snack, and a prenatal to make sure all the mothers and babies were healthy. The midwife in the village of Loccong expressed gratitude for us coming to educate the women on the importance of vaccinations and taking vitamins; topics that she had struggled with teaching.
We learned that even though each village has a midwife, oftentimes, the midwife is only trained in accessing risk factors such as checking a woman’s blood pressure but is not skilled in dealing with emergency situations such as resuscitation or stopping a hemorrhage. These skills are the difference between life and death for these women where a transport would involve an hour or more hike down the mountain, finding transportation that often does not exist at night, and driving for two more hours to the nearest hospital. In every village the women requested us to start another clinic closer to them.
We are looking forward to continuing outreaches in the mountains.
Jobilyn, her parents Benjie and Luk-ay and her “tita” Chel just arrived home from Manila this morning after a week of Doctor’s check-ups and tests in Manila. Because of numerous donations given over a period of just 2 days, Baby Jobilyn was able to get her MRI and will now be able to start a rehabilitation/physiotherapy program.
I know that Jobi’s parents were completely overwhelmed when all of the donations started pouring in for their little girl. I cannot even put into words what kind of difference it has made in Jobilyn’s life to be able to receive the care that she got in Manila. It is the difference between life and death.
I will keep you updated through this blog as to how she is doing in her physio and follow-up check-ups.
Jobilyn Balagso, from the village of Hilltop Pakak, was born at Abundant Grace of God on November 29, 2009. She was born with both of her legs severely hyperflexed against her chest. When we took her to the local government hospital they took x-rays that showed she had almost non-existent kneecaps. Then they put casts on her legs so that they could be straightened. Other than that, they not give any advice or even a diagnosis of her condition.
I had not seen Jobilyn very often since her birth so this last December when I saw her and her mom at church I was taken aback by the worsening of her condition. She was over a year old but was still not even able to hold her head up let alone sit up. I suggested going to a local rehabilitation centre called Lin-Awa which is run by the Catholic church to see if anything could be done to help.
The physiotherapists at Lin-Awa had never seen anything like Jobilyn’s condition before and referred us to a specialist in Tuguegarao City (2 hours away). The Specialist in Tuguegarao didn’t know what to do with Jobilyn either and referred us to a Genetic Pediatrician in Manila.
Jobilyn’s family are sustenance-based rice farmers with no extra money for even a bus trip to Manila let alone specialist check-ups.
This past week we were finally able to spare the funds to send Jobilyn to Manila for specialist check-ups at Philippine General Hospital. Our friend Richel Halili accompanied Jobilyn and her mom Luk-ay and dad Benjie to Manila by bus. Our friend Naomi Hamilton has generously let them stay at her ministry house (Safe Refuge) while they undergo their check-ups.
After check-ups with over half a dozen doctors (Neurologists, Orthopedics, Genetic Pediatricians, Surgeons) numerous blood tests, x-rays and even a CT scan her condition is still not clear. The doctors are requesting that Jobilyn undergo an MRI in order for a conclusive diagnosis to be made and a physical therapy routine established.
The problem is that we are now out of money. We have come so far and had so many doctors attending to Jobilyn that it seems such a shame not to be able to finish her treatment.
If any of you reading this note feel moved to help Jobilyn finish her check-ups in Manila please go the donate section of this blog. You can give through paypal with a note designating the money for Jobilyn. We will get all of the money to them immediately.
We started construction on the new Abundant Grace of God Maternity Center! I am in amazement at God. When we opened five years ago I never would have dreamed that we’d be able to build our very own clinic. We are so thankful for GDH (Samaritan’s Purse Germany) partnering with us to make this happen. We are still raising money to finish the purchase of the adjacent lot (where we dream of putting a seminar hall). We hope to have the new clinic up and running by Christmas. Keep checking back here for details on how it is all going.
Just want to say a HUGE thank you to all of you who sent us midwifery supplies with the McCauley Family!
My good friend Melissa and her family (Ben and Samuel) came to spend three weeks with us here at Abundant Grace of God. They showed up with two bags full of desperately needed supplies for our clinic: underpads, pens, measuring tapes, blood pressure cuffs, thermometers … and two brand new dopplers! It was like Christmas morning here at the clinic.
There have already been lives saved because of the brand new, accurate blood pressure cuffs!
Many of the donations were made anonymously so I hope that this ‘thank you’ will reach those of you who gave.
Thank you also for the coffee and chocolate that was sent for this deprived Canadian midwife – hee hee.
We just arrived home from five days in the mountains. A team of 10 of us travelled to the villages of Bugnay and Buscalan to do health teachings and prenatal care. We had a wonderful reception in both villages. I was particularly happy that we had so many women attend our seminar in Buscalan as this was our first trip to this village for outreach. I was also so proud of Emmaus who hiked almost the whole way there! We also had the McCauley family join us. Melissa, Ben and little Samuel were a great asset to our team! We will hike into the other three Butbut villages in May. These villages are more remote so we wont be bringing the kids with us!
“Miracle Baby” Abira Turns One
Last month the Pullis family had a First birthday celebration and thanksgiving for their youngest child Abira.
Do you remember her? Last March 2010, Abira was delivered 3 months premature because her mother had severe pre-eclampsia. We didn’t think that Abira would survive being born so early in a hospital that has no incubators or care for premature infants – but she did!
Then in February, Abira was in the hospital again for a intestinal blockage that looked like it might need surgery. We all prayed for her life and again God proved himself faithful. He healed Abira without surgery and she went home within the week.
And so once again, we celebrate Abira’s life.