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Weltreise 2007

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Mindoro North-Tour
31. December 2007, Lilian Manthei. After four days of rest and recreation with my colleague Ursula in the Tamaraw Ressort we took the jeepney back to Calapan, the capital of Mindoro island.

Mangyan in traditional dress vergroessern (Source: Lilian)

I moved into my room in the staff house and was loing forward to 10 more days on tour for the Mangyan people. Shortly after I found out, that we would go south to spend the next two nights in Socorro. I packed for the wilderness: mosquito net, repellent, knife, boots, headlamp, bed sheets and medical literature.

At dinner I got to know my team for the North Tour: Helen (translater) Michael (chauffeur), Cecilia (TBC), Tina (reception), Ella (pharmacy) and David (caretaker staffhouse). All of them seemed very motivated and friendly. They packed, planned and cooked for three days that we would spend away from Calapan. They asked me about my preferred medication so they could stock up on those.

We started at 6am. After two hours drive we move into the large and beautiful rooms of a missionary’s house. Then we tried to get to Safa, but we failed, because the rivers were too deep and flowed too fast to cross. It had been raining for seven days. Michael always walked into the river first to test conditions. We crossed three rivers, but the fourth was too dangerous. Three of our patients came from the other side and crossed the river on foot. They were epileptics who came to pick up their medicine. Good patient cooperation I would say.

On the second day we parked the jeep on a path in the mountains and walked 30 minutes with all our equipment through the rain and the jungle. It was muddy and slippery and Michael had a pair of rubber boots for me in the car, very convenient. The landscape was a dream: coconut palm trees and banana trees all around. Our emergency kit and other heavy equipment was put on a sledge, pulled by a water buffalo.

Slowly I got used to the character of the Mangyans. They greet by moving their eyebrows, avoid eye contact and are generally very shy. Again 80% of patients were children who suffer from unhygienic living conditions and undernourishment. In some regions the patients were so dirty that I could not even see their injuries. I sent them to wash themselves. Nevertheless, the number of children is amazing and so is their happiness.

They live on coconuts, papayas, bananas, roots like sweet potatoes, rice and water. Because of the heavy work they do in the fields they often suffer from back pain. At home in Germany everyone has some Aspirin handy, here they have nothing like that.

The Mangyans are chewing betel nuts as a greeting ritual, which causes gastric problems. I offered contraceprives to some young mothers with many undernourished children. Some happily accepted the contraceptives, others wanted to discuss with their husbands. Usually the husband decides what is to be done.

One proud father of three sweet daughters impressed me. He wanted to use contraceptives from now on instead of trying to conceive a son like most men. He said his daughters are all he wants and also there is not enough food for more kids.

One mother came along with her four sons and their lungs did not sound good. I asked if their father smoked at home. She answered that he had died of tuberculosis 18 days earlier. Nobody helps her to get food for the boys. I examined the wheezing lungs, gave them vitamin tablets and some old t-shirts of mine, but that was all I could do. And again I transferred three more patients to the district hospital: one dehydrated five year old and a collapsed and anaemic man with a possible internal bleeding.

With flashing blue light and sirene we crossed rivers and jungle. My team was already joking that I always attract emergencies. Whether during nightshift in a hospital or in the middle of a jungle in Mindoro, emergencies are for me.

By the time I visited the Mangyan ward in the hospital in Calapan, I knew half the stations, all of them patients of mine that I saw during the last two weeks. The wife of the tetanus patient that I transferred here two weeks ago grasped my hand. He was a lot better and she was expecting her third child. The dehydrated girl was responding well to the infusions and her eyes were not so deep in the sockets anymore. At first the father was not pleased when I placed the infusion, but now he was smiling.

I hope the 20 year old mother with the undernourished child stays in the hospital. At first she did not want to go, she was afraid of the costs, she had no money. We persuaded her anyway. The government would cover the costs, medication and milk are paid be German Doctors. The child really looked bad, her first child had already died. A shame I would not be able to visit her again, it was my last day.

My team was a lot of fun. They spoke very good English, laughed a lot (like all Philippinos) and every night we watched the kitsch TV soap “Marimar”. Karaoke is another thing that is always present, there is even a dedicated TV channel just for Karaoke. And in the evenings we sang in the staff house. As “doctora” and “team captain” I felt very welcome and the team is doing everything they can to make me feel at home. They even got rid of a rat for me, although they were a little afraid themselves. I have a lot of respect for the work of my team and I am very fond of every one of them. I hope I can meet them again some day. SALAMAT!
Quelle: Ingo zur Übersicht...

Weitere Bilder

Dutch Pater A. Postma

30 min march to the area

natural umbrella

Mangyan Station

Good bye dinner

Lecture while waiting

Hip problems?


Copyright 2004-2006 Raumfahrt24.de Blog für unsere Weltreise 2007 Herausgeber: Lilian & Ingo