Sunday, May 30, 2010

Screening and First Day of Surgery


Yesterday was our first day of screening. We woke up at about 5:30 am and to get ready for the day. The night before we sorted through our toys and supplies. We brought chalk, toothbrushes, stickers, tons of bubbles, blow up beach balls, and crafty things like string to make bracelets. We had a team breakfast at the hospital at about 7 and then we started after that. It was a little overwhelming at first. This was the first time that I have ever seen a cleft lip in real life. We handed out coloring sheets and crayons to all of the children there for the beginning of the day. We got a picture with the Jollibee mascot that was there to see the children and hand things out to them. (Jollibee is a popular filipino fast food restaurant) All of the children were so shy at first. We tried attracting them by playing with beach balls and bubbles, but they still did not come. Then one boy came and played with us. His name was Lawrence. He ran around playing with and kicking the ball around. He showed the other kids that we weren't some scary people. Other kids then joined and then started playing with us. They especially came to us when we were handing out our toothbrushes and stickers. We handed out many toothbrushes after our Dental Hygiene presentations. Throughout the day we played with the children and made presentations. We stayed at the hospital until about 7:30 to see the admission announcements and had dinner at the hospital too. We headed back to the hotel and we were exhausted from our first full day with screening. It was so exciting to see all of the children.
Today was the first full day of surgery. There were around 30-40 surgeries performed today! YAYYYY! Melanie, Adrienne, and I stayed in Pre-Op for most of the day with the Child Life Specialist, Toni. We had two different rooms set up -one for toddlers and babies and another for adults and older children. Bubbles were a life saver today! Since the patients are not allowed to eat before surgery, the younger ones especially are very very hungry and tired. When they started to cry, bubbles would make them happy and content to stop crying. They are so fascinated by the bubbles. One little boy was so cute and started to smile and laugh when the bubbles would fall on him. Some had to wait very little time in the Pre-Op rooms and some had to wait longer times. We played Jenga with the older children and adults and memory card games. Also, Twister and Hot Potato were other favorites. The babies loved the light up toys and rattles and anything else that made noise. We met many local student nurses that were volunteering at the hospital that were there to translate, play, and help us in any way. A small group of people were screened today too. One of Melanie's favorite children got surgery today, Joshua. She was so excited to see him in Pre-Op and then after his surgery too, There was a 72 year old man here to get surgery too. Many older patients got surgery today. We ate dinner at the hospital and headed back to the hotel at around 8:30.
We are heading to bed soon, it will be another fun and exciting day tomorrow to see all of the children and adults at the hospital awaiting surgery. I cannot even imagine how happy they are.
I learned more Tagalog:
Maganda Ka- You are beautiful
Ano ang pangalan mo? -What is your name?
Ano si...- My name is ...
Ma-hal ki-ta- I love you

-Mary Claire : )

Saturday, May 29, 2010



Yesterday, we arrived in Manila after about a fifteen and a half hour flight and got in at about 6:30 am Manila time. We stopped over in Guam for as a refuel stop. Our first day was the team bonding day. We ate at a seafood overlooking Manila Bay and then went to a museum. It was a religious museum that was connected to this really big church. There was a wedding going on when we visited the church. The food is soo good! I have tried a version of kare-kare and payasamda ham. It was all very tasty. It is very hot and humid but we are very lucky and stayed in an air conditioned hotel in Makati City and now in Pampanga too. After we went to the museum we went to the Mall of Asia- the largest mall in all of Asia. The sunset was so pretty over Manila Bay. For dinner, Melanie, Adrienne, and I had dinner with Adrienne's cousin at a place called Banana Leaf where we ate on banana leaves. It had all types of Asian dishes. Back to the hotel, we showered and quickly fell asleep.
Today, we drove to Pampanga from Makati City. We ate lunch at one of the in-country volunteers' houses. We had adobo chicken, rice, and a noodle dish. There were also many other traditional Filipino desserts like flan. After we went for a tour of the hospital and set up the screening room. There was a huge welcome sign for us and also it was advertising that we were coming. We then made it back to our hotel started to sort through all of the toys that we brought. Melanie brought over 1,000 toothbrushes! Tonight we had our welcome team dinner. It was in this backyard with these huge trees decorated with hanging lights. There were singers that performed traditional Filipino songs for us and the head of Operation Smile Philippines spoke to us. I tried rice in wrapped in a crepe and delicious coconut ice cream. The mangos here are the best I have ever tasted before.
Tomorrow we have our first day at the hospital for screening. Also, we are doing the Name Game tomorrow morning before we start the day.
I learned a few words in Tagalog: Salamat-Thank you, Oo- Yes, and Hindi- No.

Salamat for reading my blog! : )
Mary Claire

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

On the Way!

Hello Everyone!

Welcome to "smile~ngiti"! Ngiti is smile in Filipino. I started this blog to keep all of you updated on my Operation Smile mission to Pampanga, Philippines. I leave today, May 26, and return back home on June 6. I want to say thank you to everyone that has helped me prepare for my mission-- my school, friends, and family! I could not have done it without you! I am so unbelievably excited and honored to be traveling on an Operation Smile Medical Mission. I fly from Orlando to LA to Manila with a refuel stop in Guam. 20 hours+ of traveling! Wow!
Here are a few facts about Pampanga: It is the culinary capital of the Philippines, I can't wait to try all of the yummy new foods. Pampanga is a province and the capital is the City of San Fernando. It is located north of Manila Bay. Pampanga is a new site for Operation Smile.

I am currently waiting in the Orlando airport for my flight to LA. Less than an hour till I board!

Talk to you all soon,
Mary Claire