Uplift Internationale’s 2015 Operation Taghoy team, of 54 members, arrived in the City of Bacolod, the provincial capital of Negros Occidental, Republic of the Philippines, Saturday, January 31st. Members travelling from Denver met teammates from across America and volunteers from other islands within the Philippines. The mission site was the Corazon Locsin Montelibano Memorial Regional Hospital, a regional referral and teaching hospital.
Saturday afternoon, the first 8 patients were admitted to the hospital and evaluated by the medical team for surgery on Monday. Mission members met on Sunday to unpack supplies/equipment and get organized for the start of surgeries Monday morning. That afternoon some team members spent time exploring Bacolod and the surrounding area. Rotary Clubs hosted UI that evening at a welcoming reception and dinner at a restaurant and we enjoyed time to socialize with the ever-present and ever-helpful Rotarians, as well as, getting acquainted with each other.
Monday morning arrived, and it was time to start operating! Much to the team’s dismay they discovered that an anesthesia machine had developed a leak in a section of oxygen delivery tubing. Fortunately, one of our outreach volunteers was able to repair it and the day began, with completion of the first 8 surgical repairs. 52 additional patients arrived for our evaluation, and it was determined that 29 of these could benefit from our care so they were scheduled for surgery in the coming days.
Outreach volunteers in the hospital provided support with administrative functions, enjoyed playing with the children both before and after surgery and were enthusiastically helpful doing whatever was requested to further the mission. Several activities outside the hospital in the local community were very rewarding for the participants. They visited the Barangay Villamonte Livelihood & Training Center where jewelry making is done by handicapped children and non-working mothers; the Bacolod City National High School SPED class for deaf and mute Boy Scouts, for whom UI provided uniforms; the Capuchin Girls Home for abused girls; and the Bongol Elementary School.
Our team accomplished 37 facial deformity repairs during the week and each child was returned to a very grateful family. Providing these children with an opportunity for a healthier life and the ability to participate more fully in their world is…priceless!