I was once told that the things I take for granted . . . someone is wishing for right now. After all I’ve seen in the last few days, there is no denying this statement. Volunteering on this WSF mission has engrained it even deeper, when I think times are tough . . . it’s nothing compared to what the sick and brave here have to deal with daily. There are even children and adults who craft colostomy bags out of soda bottles and other receptacles or just diapers. If one can’t afford the medical supplies, they must make their own.
After surviving one of the biggest natural disasters in history, the Philippines is a country rebuilding itself, stick by stick. And the people are as well. I am frequently shocked by how willing and strong they are, rebuilding their shanty homes and doing all of this with an air of gratitude and happiness.
World Surgical Foundation has preformed over 70 major surgeries in three days. Dr. Domingo T. Alvear didn’t stop there. At noon on Wednesday a group of us went to the main hospital down the road, and Dr. Alvear spoke to surgeons about appendicitis and lowering the cost of an appendectomy. He lectured once the appendix is ruptured all that is needed are antibiotics and pain medicine as the organ will break up and dissolve internally.
His lecture was followed by Dr. Rolando Mindiola to share his knowledge of minimally invasive surgery and the importance of laparoscopic surgical techniques. The goal here is not only to preform operations, but also to teach the local medical professionals how to do modern, quick, cost-efficient surgeries with a low loss of blood and minimal scarring.
Being a part of this mission is not just a blessing, an honor and a privilege, but the beginning of a career path I never would have been exposed to as well. Since I was a child, I did community service on my own volition. When I see a family come into the hospital with a child or other family member in total crisis and the next day leave with smiles of relief, I am flooded with indescribable gratitude. I know I’ve helped in making a difference in the quality of this person or child’s life. After seeing what WSF does, I will without doubt be picking up my service at home and abroad.