Tag Archives: personal insights

January 2018 Update: Finding Solutions for Malnutrition

With a general objective to decrease the percentage of malnutrition among children ages 0 months to 71 months from 18.5% to 9% in Barangay Sinai, Municipality of Sergio Osmeña, Zamboanga del Norte, by the end of year 2019, the group continued activities against malnutrition for January 2018. These include the following:

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  • Coordination with DOST for mongo cereals. A communication letter was sent and a meeting was set at the Department of Science and Technology Regional Office in Zamboanga City. This is in line with the group’s request for mongo cereals to be distributed to identified malnourished children in September 2018.
  • Operation Timbang and Updating of Malnutrition Masterlist. Along with the new barangay nutrition scholar and the barangay health worker, the group conducted a weight and height monitoring among children 0-71 months. Vitamin A supplementation and distribution of milk packets from the municipal health office was also facilitated. As of January 2018, 12 among the 130 children aged 0-71 months remain to be malnourished.
  • Acquisition of seeds from Department of Agriculture for households with identified malnourished children. The group was able to acquire seeds for distribution in the barangay. These seeds include carrots, kangkong, okra and petchay. A set, which includes all four seeds, is given to each household with an identified malnourished child. This was then turned over to the barangay secretary.
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Back and forth? More like back and fourth.

This exposure is our 4th at Sinai, thus the title.

Lots of plans have been ironed out. Many activities were supposed to be done for this fourth exposure. However, it has been cut short to two weeks due to the martial law declaration in Mindanao after the Marawi incident.

However, it is still a joy to be back. Our stay was cut short, yes. But the memories with the people of Sinai only adds up every single time. As part of our implementation, our focus for this exposure on the Malnutrition problem on the barangay continues.

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Matters of the Heart

Hypertension is really one of the most common illness we see in our society today. But it is also one of the easiest condition to control due to its widely available maintenance medication provided by the government for free. Despite this ray of hope, there are still a lot of people, who live in barangays found in the outskirts of the region, unaware of these programs. We are fortunate enough to be the bridges that allows awareness and knowledge to spread among the villagers. Our group has pondered upon what the heart and mind can conjure within the limits of what our hands can do, to make the citizens of barangay Sinai live a healthier lifestyle. We came up with simple but influential programs to get the people on fire about matters of the heart. Now we are on our fourth community immersion and still a lot of things are yet to be done. A month is nowhere near the ideal time period to inflict and assess change in a community who has lived comfortably with diseases slowly eating them away. That part is what makes our mission a challenge. We, a mere group of 8 medical students, envisions a community of cooperative, attentive, collaborative, and instinctive residents who looks out for one another. In order to achieve that, we must take one step at a time to encourage independence amidst dependence in the community and unite them as one.

Due to unforeseen events, our plans were cut short due to a terrorist attack targeting a neighboring city. The school decided to pull us out of our respective communities and were sent home with only 2 weeks shy of the originally scheduled arrival back to our city.

Alas, these were only some of the activities we had planned for this exposure and the rest are going to be rescheduled on the next exposure, which is unfortunately before clerkship starts.

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Bp taking activity during the Senior Citizens’ meeting for identification and monitoring of hypertensive individuals.

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We conducted a health teaching on vices during the Senior citizens’ meeting as  well.
Zumba

An exercise program dubbed Galaw, Sayaw, Hataw! that features similarities with Zumba which is defined as “an aerobic fitness program featuring movements inspired by various styles of Latin American dance and performed primarily to Latin American dance music.”. We only had 3 sessions out of the 10 we intended to have for the whole month of our stay.

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We visited Dipolog to coordinate with the regional agricutural district to coordinate with the department of agriculture for the procurement of seeds for our upcoming project next exposure which is the creation of a communal garden per purok. This is in line with our aim to make herbal plants known and used depending on their purpose as well as introducing a healthier diet for children to avoid malnutrition.

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We intended to create the hypertension core group during this exposure and were halfway done when we were sent home. We post-pone our planned meetings as well as the demo on the proper way of taking blood pressure unto the next exposure.

Overall, I had fun during this exposure. I never thought two weeks could go by so fast. It was a very eventful 2 weeks for me. I even got to lead a bible study for my fellow Christian brothers and sisters assigned in the same municipality. We finally have a refrigerator. I’ve made desserts for my second family. Cooked blindly. Scored fashionable pieces at a thrift shop. Got to experience our haunted barangay hall once again. Got to eat halo-halo at the new “IT” place called Dumpy’s cafe. Crossed of things and places I really wanted to see and do in Dipolog. The list goes on and honestly I just couldn’t enumerate everything. And because I am the leader for this exposure, I am also quite sad that we didn’t get to do what we planned and prepared. But at the same time I’m glad that we got home safe and is now thousand of miles away from the war.

Here’s to looking forward for the next exposure.

c’est la vie

-Jyvlkk

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I’m Home

 

As this semester comes to close, I realized that I’ve been dreading to go back to the community When I pondered why that was the case, it only made me sadder. I didn’t want to leave my family and my home for a month, not when the days we’ll be living together under that house are numbered. We are set to move into another house sometime soon and I wanted to be with my family. It only made me sadder when I found out they’ll be moving our departure date to a later day, the day before my 22nd birthday. I thought to mysel8f, “This will be the saddest birthday ever” since I’ll be far from family and my other close friends. I pushed that thought aside and kept thinking positively. A day before my birthday, some of my closest friends surprised me with a cake and a calligraphy set! I was ecstatic! I didn’t expect some people would bother preparing a surprise for me when they’re all too busy preparing for our month long trip. I was touched and happy.

More hurdles came along as I felt the all too familiar pain starting at my lower back and lower abdomen. We were still on the bus going to Sinai when I can’t deny the unmistaken sensation I was feeling at that time. I had my period early. It was fine if I got it early. What made it not fine was the pain though it wasn’t new to me. I always get cramps but having them on a bus ride for 9 hours was not fun at all.  What made matters worse was the fact that when we get to our house at Sinai, we won’t be able to sit pretty and relax because we’d have to clean the whole house! When we arrived, we drew lots to see who’ll clean which part of the house and with whom. I got the boy’s room with Denzel. I was moody and tired. I wanted to clean myself up already but the public comfort rooms we are using every time we stay there were so dirty you could barely recognize it as a comfort room for people, what, with all the goat poop lodged everywhere. You ca just imagine how smelly it was. It was a good thing I was not assigned there.

Kim came a day later than us because she’ll be brought by her family. Then I was surprised when my groupmates gave me cake and sang Happy Birthday to me. Eli and Yen also came and gave me gifts. All in all, it wasn’t a bad birthday after all.

The first week came by so slow but shockingly the next weeks passed by like a blur. It was so fast. Maybe because we were having so much fun. It is because of my groupmates that I began to look forward for meals because we’ll be laughing and joking and basically every meal was memorable, full of de amor!

This exposure was also different because the people already, somewhat, knew us. I got closer to my “family” in Sinai because David, the eldest son, always came by our house and play with us. I sometimes let him write his name on a paper or let him draw. He’s just 4 years old but the way he speaks is so cute, you’ll think he is old and matured but still, he couldn’t get in his slippers the right way. We also made friends with my neighbor’s baby, Ina, who shakes her bum every time we wave at her from a far. She’s about 2 years old and a little bit of a diva. Then there’s Anna Grace, the youngest daughter of our barangay secretary. She comes by whenever her mom is working and plays with David most of the time. She’s in first grade and prefers to play with her mom’s cellphone most of the time. Then of course, I won’t forget Justin, the half German kid who really got close to us all. He’s 11 years old and doesn’t have any siblings. He prefers to just hang out with us. The night before we went home, he stayed with us and tried to stay awake but we let him sleep even if he still wanted to play and bond with us. These kids are just some of the ones who made this exposure more memorable. I wouldn’t forget Lito the artist, Madeline the beauty and brains, Pierson the joker and CJ the reliable one. We had movie marathons, art sessions and games, it was really fun having them around. There was a time when I went to David’s house to talk with his mother when I saw how stressed she is with his 3 sons,  now that she gave birth to another one, Jay Jay, so close to the age of his younger son Ton Ton. They were both breastfeeding on her and I saw how Rose, the mom, was struggling so I volunteered to take David and Ton Ton out for a while, just to give her a breather. We bonded and Kim and I bought them food. By then end of the day, Ton Ton does not want to leave my side anymore, he cried when I left him back at his mother’s house and he keeps calling me “nanay”. I jokingly told my groupmates that maybe it’s my calling to be a pediatrician but they laughed and said no, and insisted it was calling to be a mother.

The days flew by so fast. I didn’t even get to call my mother the way I wanted to, which was every day. Maybe because I was also scared to know what’s happening. This community exposure was my one shot at “vacation” and de-stressing out from med school. Even if this is still part of our requirements and we had a lot of work to do, still it was better than the pressure of passing exam after exam. Speaking of exam, I had my very first R1, Gastrointestinal. That means I would have to study in the community alongside the projects and classes we were conducting for the people of Sinai. I wasn’t alone on this, both fortunately and unfortunately. There were five of us who failed this exam and we helped each other remember stuff by asking questions to each other.

All in all, I really had fun in this exposure, it’s the best one yet! I finally learned that, a house is a material thing. Insignificant, temporary, replaceable. But the people I love? No. They are the ones who make a house, a home. Home is where your heart is. Home is the people you love. They make a house, a home. And these 7 people? They made Sinai my second home. When I boarded the bus going back to Zamboanga, I looked back at Sinai and said “I’ll be back” and I know, once we come back for our next exposure, when I will go down the bus, I’ll say “I’m finally, home.”

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A Different Perspective

Being in a medical school, future Physicians, people would normally think that this career is “awesome”, “cool”, “amazing”. Most people will look up on you and say, “wow, he/she must be brilliant”… But SERIOUSLY, they don’t know how much we need to go through just to be deserving of those titles.

As a kid, I always looked up at doctors (literally, coz they’re taller than me), but seriously, medicine, my greatest dream, I’ve always thought of it as a very noble profession, especially when you get help people in their dire need, being able to cure them, make them healthy again – that’s something! Even though I already heard many people say that this path is deadly! That it would suck up all of your youth and “freshness”. (I knew it was) But all I saw was the beauty of it. (Ganyan tlaga siguro kapag mahal mo, kahit nasasaktan ka na, kahit hirap na hirap ka na, gusto mo pa rin) But not until I experienced it myself. It was much more!! I am only in 2nd year yet I already have countless crying moments inside my bedroom already! (even more than all my heartaches combined in the past!), my time being awake is far more greater than my time being asleep, my caffeine:blood ratio has greatly increased from last year. that’s why they call it “PASSION”, because it means “SUFFERING”.

Entering medical school, all I thought was you get to spend most of time reading and familiarizing every single part of human anatomy  and all the weird mind-boggling medical terms.

BUT, I never thought that medical school can be so… (what’s the word?) – ODD. At least here in Ateneo de Zamboanga. We are so unique that this school strays away from the traditional, from cliché, from the usual. We have PBLs instead of having the “usual” large group, we spend a month or so in a far flank community and leave with the people there.

At first, being immersed in a community, I was focused on the requirements alone, but right now, when we got to know the people more, I honestly appreciate “life” even more. Seeing how diverse many people can be, but they still manage to live happily and harmoniously, even with such little resources, people in the barrio are much more bonded than here in the city, there, I gained a lot of friends, people back In Sinai are so accommodating and kind. Believe me, you’ll get to love those people back there especially when you hear their life’s story. And not to mention the little kids – those “clingy” kids that are so dear to us!

I believe that responsibilities makes you more mature and independent. And being immersed in a community that is far from your comfort zone makes you independent without a choice. Being in the campus and being in the community are like two sides of a coin – two distinct “trainings” we get to undergo when you’re in this institution. Unknowingly, you become more sensitive to the people’s needs, and being a doctor in the future, this is really important. We were once faced by a question, “What is your definition of a good doctor?”- well, for me, being one means someone who truly has the passion for his/her profession, one who will not just after the money of his/her patient but the patient’s total well-being. How can we understand these people if we do  not know their struggles? And how can we understand their hardships when we always stay in our comfort zones? Ateneo de Zamboanga School of Medicine does NOT just produce “intelligent” doctors, they produce GOOD doctors –  This institution will not just prepare you intellectually, but as well as emotionally and spiritually.

Lastly, being a doctor is far more different than being a GOOD doctor, and being one doesn’t just happen in a blink of an eye ,it requires passion, determination and commitment.

-Chy 🙂

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#WhenInBukid: Continuing the journey

How time flies. The first semester of our second year in the medical school has ended just like that. It feels like yesterday when I entered this adventure of a lifetime.

The end of another semester in the academic arena signals another month to be spent outside the comforts of the city, in our second home: Sergio Osmeña, Zamboanga del Norte. I think about it and it thrills me – how amazing it is to be of hope to others again.

This third exposure felt different. Slowly, we have built friendships in this place. Coming back to Sinai is something I really look forward to this time. We may be away from our families, but seeing people we have not seen for a few months now gives me a sense of comfort by itself.

It was November 11, 2016 when we arrived. We started our exposure by rebuilding our rapport with the people in the barangay. It was great to feel at home in Sinai. There went the children outside our house We met Auntie Mercy, Ma’am Lilian and Ma’am Myerna again. Of course it was nice seeing “Kap” flashing his warmest smile, as if a father welcoming his children back. Indeed we are back, we are really back. Perhaps the hardest challenge we have to do for this exposure is beginning our implementation. We had to plan for it well. We need not to fail the people of Sinai.

Pairs were assigned per community health problem. From our Zumba sessions every other day to our daycare coloring activities on the basic food groups, to our seminars on Solid Waste Management, and then our mass animal vaccination: everything seems to be worth it, most especially after a simple “thank you Doc” from a middle-aged woman. There are many days when we may seem tired from all the planning and preparations but upon seeing the response from people, it all makes sense. We are here for reasons we may not fully understand but the sense of fulfillment this whole experience is providing us with gives me strength to move forward.

So far, we have a good start and I’m glad to say that this is only the beginning.

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Still flying

If there is one thing that I have learned from my med school experience so far, it is that there is always joy in contentment. A typical med student would ask how but the kind of med student our school envisions me to be exactly knows how.

Entering medical school, you expect spending anatomy over some cadaver,  figuring biochemical processes at cellular level or doing some kind of a reading spree with Guyton and Harrison over summer. ‘Lo and behold, my medical school does more than that! Every after semester, we are brought to far-flung disadvantaged communities in the Zamboanga peninsula. Not to experiment on cadavers, but to meet people. Not to figure out biochemical processes, but to have a glimpse of reality. Not to spend time with thick medical books, but to take time in realizing life. Yes, this is Medicine, the Ateneo de Zamboanga way.

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The greatest wealth is to live content with little.

It’s amazing how life is so dynamic. There’s no such thing as an identical life. Each one of us has a unique way of experiencing life and various ways on how we view life. Each moment we experience, can never be the same with that of others. What makes us happy won’t matter to other people because it’s just not who they are. We are all different. But it’s our differences that makes building friendships worthwhile. I am just so glad that I get to experience a one of a kind friendship. My group mates and I have grown so close that we treat each other like family. I am so lucky to have a family that learns to love the good as well as the bad parts of you. What more could I ask for? Clearly God knows what’s best for you and truly, having these people as my family is one of the greatest things that happened in my life.

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Preparing to survey Purok Mangga

Our second exposure at Barangay Sinai didn’t just paved a way for us to grow closer to each other. It also created a way for us to know the people in a whole new perspective. We were very fortunate to hear their stories. No matter what their status in the society, they still manage to fix a smile on their faces every day. I felt so thankful that our school offers an opportunity like this. Becoming a doctor should not mean that we are just in for the money. We become doctors because it is what we are called to do. Our main concern should be helping other people and putting aside our needs to address theirs first. This experience is both humbling and satisfying because you learn to appreciate what you have and realize how petty your selfish desires or “wants” are. Just like what Plato, one of the greatest philosophers, have said, “the greatest wealth is to live content with little”.

We often think about how we, merely civilians, could help save the world like a superhero could do. We couldn’t be Iron Man and create an army of suits, nor be Captain America who can defeat a multitude of men in just a single throw of his shield. We can’t all be like Thor who is a god in Norse mythology who controls thunder and we can’t all be bitten by radioactive spiders and become Spiderman and shoot webs out of his body. We can only be us. There’s no shortcut to become anything. No experiments, no gamma rays, no weird suits and no mutated genes. We just have to exhaust every single energy we have to become extraordinary. Becoming a doctor is one of the closest thing in being a superhero. We get to save lives and help those who needs it the most. What better way to study medicine than being subjected to save a whole community filled with living, breathing subjects? I am in a situation wherein I can become the bridge who can sort out the possible problems this community is facing. It may seem like a burden to carry but oftentimes these things become a blessing in disguise.

Jayvalikka A. Garcia

Batch 2020

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Another life-changing experience

Hello! Thank you for visiting our site and for clicking my post. It is my first time to finally make a serious entry regarding some of my experience in our barangay.  I hope that you will enjoy reading it, just like I enjoyed every moment of it.

Barangay Sinai is one of the recently established barangays in Sergio Osmeñia municipality, Zamboanga del Norte. It has four puroks. It is mainly inhabited by the Subanen and Visayan tribe.

During our first week, we relaxed and talked as usual. We did not have a survey tool yet upon arrival here at Barangay Sinai. When we got a copy of our survey tool, we were not contented about it. We feel that the questions were just superficial and that it will not provide optimum solutions for the problems of our barangay. We kept on revising and revising our work.

When we thought that we already have our final survey tool, one of my groupmates suggested that we should do pilot testing. I never knew about pilot testing until she told us about it. We decided to do pilot testing with three houses at the same time practicing the visayan language and observing how to do each survey (such as getting the height, weight, blood pressure, etc). After our pilot testing, we revised our survey tool once more. So, for the whole first week- majority of our time, we just make our survey tool, while the other groups are busy with their house to house survey already.

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“Work for a cause, not for applause and live life to express, not to impress.”

“Work for a cause, not for applause and live life to express, not to impress.” Again, we spent a month long community exposure at the quiet municipality of Sergio Osmena.

We, Team MediSinai, brought with us the perseverance to accomplish something that we know may help the community. We tightly crossed our fingers and asked guidance from the Almighty to give us the strength in combating pressure. And again, we tried to do our best.

The endless trek, rough path, excruciating heat, and the hard, loud, pumping of our hearts trying to be keen from venomous snakes and wild monkeys, made the exposure more challenging than expected. But more than these challenges, lies behind our individual emotional challenge. Being able to see the reality hits so hard, that each of us had a moment of reflection about how grateful we must be for whatever situation we are in.

These people served as an eye-opener of how life is in the other corners of the world. They may not be as rich as other people or extravagantly living their lives, But they have the purest smile. They smile with their hearts full of contentment. I admire them, for being able to see positivity regardless of how hard life’s stability is. This, inspires us more to help them in our own humble ways.

Marie Dorothy Kimberly O. Lim

Batch 2020

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