Mission Accomplished – Operation Taghoy 2008

By: Megs Lunn (Team Member from the Philippines)

We arrived at Iloilo Airport late pm and in San Jose Feb. 22 same day though dark already with other members after a long trip of my 36 other fellow team members from Colorado. Mr. Bob Garcia of St. Joseph Academy, Iloilo City graciously offered his air conditioned school bus and while Dr. Ric Noel Naciongaya of Angel Salazar Memorial Hospital of San Jose de Antique augmented by adding more vans to fit the whole team plus their luggages and Uplift Medical boxes and equipments.It was an exciting scene at Iloilo Airport seeing old timer team members once again and of course, more exciting to meet new ones, too. The first group I met was Dan Conover (Virginia), Anesthetist and Mike Hollenback (Oregon), Physician Assistant who was waiting already at the airport, arrived earlier than the other group. Mike as usual is the “smiley” fellow. Prior to seeing them, two nurses, Olivia Kerveillant and Teresa Sands (Colorado) called me that they were already in San Jose, they arrived a day ahead of everyone where they swing-around Cebu before the trip in Antique. Olivia is Filipino by heart who’s Mother hailed from Cebu City and while Teresa is a cute darling with her cutie-cutie curly hair (whom I promised I will get it straightened next time she comes to the Philippines by treating her to a hair salon hehehe).Here comes Dr. Ric coming out from the Departure Area ushering the team out with all their luggages and boxes, too. There is Monnie Biety (Outreach) who have done the hard work doing the everyday blogging and uploading of pictures on the Uplift website and hubby Christopher Biety (Orthodentist) both from Colorado, Chris was very generous and accommodating ushering me inside the OR to see the action in the “theater” (as the Brits would put it hehe) and explaining to me what is happening in the operating table then; of course there is Jaime Yrastorza (MD), the president of Uplift Internationale (I had the chance to be his care giver for a short time which I am honored to do it..); John Dahl (Family Medicine) from Colorado and daughter Debbie Denkler (Outreach) from Arizona, both are comeback from the last mission in 2007 in Kalibo whom I was very pleased to see for the second time; there is Bryan Moyer (Outreach/Medical Records) from Pennsylvania and whom I had the chance to work very closely with assisting him in his photography and lamination (…Bryan, remember our first laminated picture? hehe I hope you send me the evidence soon hehehe and also Bryan, is always the early riser in the group, who sometimes has to drag me away from the breakfast table to go on duty at 7am hehe my pleasure though); another is David Charles (Surgeon) from Colorado who was also very friendly and accommodating during my visit at the OR; Nabil Samman (Surgeon) from Hongkong and who was always appreciative every time he sees me around at the OR or at the lunch table hehe; Bogdan Murarescu (MD/Anesthetist) from Colorado who seemed a 30 year-old looking gentleman but he denied the young age and told me the real number (which I am not telling you readers..hehehe higher..that’s all I can tell you-smile); Ayad Shakir (MD/Anesthetist), Susan Hewitt (MD/Anesthetist), Annie Hardwick (RN) and Liz Barker (RN) all four from United Kingdom, all three ladies with a sweet and surprised smile to see me for the second time around, too. This time we had more chance to at least talk and bond at the beach and sing videoke at Aloha after a long-day at the hospital; Lawrence Hermann (Surgeon) from Massachusetts is a very fine gentleman and I had a chance to look at his patient with palette while doing the surgery at the OR during the fourth day of the mission; Jeff Swail (Surgeon/Reconstructive) from Colorado who look like a “Governator” in his Barong Tagalog during our fellowship night with Antique Gov. Sally Perez; Geoff Williams (Surgeon) from Idaho who is a sweet fellow cuddling his patients every time he sees them; Susan Adams (RN), Nancy Bliss (RN) , Melissa Gabriel (RN), Amanda Willmann (RN), Sandra Seibel (RN), Charlotte Rowley (RN) and Amy Kennedy (Physician Assistant) all from the states of Colorado were all sweet and gentle nurses who really make sure the patients are well taken cared of in the OR, always serving with a smile, notwithstanding Cynthia Mauro (RN) also from Colorado leading the group of Perioperative Nursing who has always a bright smiling eyes inspite of the warm weather and “exciting scene” inside the OR, also the “cry-sweet baby” during the last day of the mission, she misses everyone already; Vicki Book (Outreach) who has a wonderful built of a young 15 year-old body, but believe you me, she is times-4 this number hehe sorry Vick, I can’t stop thinking about it, thanks to YOGA, keep it up. Vicki, aside from Jaime and myself, is a Rotarian from Colorado; this time we have two very young teenagers – John Moyer (Barb’s son) and Jordan Brisch, both from Colorado who did a great job as Outreach with some bags of goodies for the children and had fun visiting old patients, too; Barbara Moyer (Orthodentist) is the sweetest of them all, though she lost her voice for a while..having too much videoke (joking Barb)…; before I missed, of course how could I, I deliberately save the best for last…my room mate Theresa Snelling (Speech Pathologist) from Colorado who is like a big sister to me, flexibility is our key together hehehe and we had fun in her speaking engagement (she is the most in demand speaker during the mission…am happy for her), she made her way to see the special children in a SPED school in San Jose and spend her time well with them..(thanks for the book lamp – my daughter Clouds is enjoying it..oh! well she is the one staying up late now while am doing this blog and she is having fun using them while she paints, how about it hehe..) and last but not the least, how can I forget Jonathan Savelle (Outreach) from Colorado who is the “Sexy-tary” & “Money-launderer” of the group hehehe sorry dear I have to say it…(smile)….we run errands together in the hospital for the group and is always willing to share his expertise and knowledge about the mission and the organization as a whole, most specifically on the Medical Records. At some point, we were both learning about medical term
s, too. He knows better, being with Uplift for a long time, I can always rely on him for some wisdom hehehe; and it is fortunate that I will not forget “ME” being at least the only pure Filipino by blood and citizenship as member of the team hehehehe I gathered a lot of pseudo name on this mission like: bubbly, sunshine, energizer, mover..oh well, you may ask the rest of the members, and they have something to crack in their mind for me huhuhu poor me…..kidding aside, my being a part of the team was very overwhelming esp. being a Filipino myself. I have never seen a team who worked together for just one cause “mending faces….one at a time” with a very humble, down-to-earth and no-pride individuals, who worked even if it would mean missing food for the day and some fellowship-dinner, too in order to deliver prompt and promising service above self for the Filipino children.

Oh! We were fed very well by the people of Antique, so much food and good culture in music, too. Thank you to our lunch/dinner hosts: Bishop of Antique, Provincial Government, Local Government Unit, Rotary Club of Antique, Angel Salazar Memorial Hospital of San Jose de Antique, The Pinnacle Suites & Functions, The Lions Club and the Antique Medical Society.Huh, the above is only about the team members who worked doubly hard to make this mission fulfilling, rewarding and successful. There is so much to say and to remember … however for the rest of the story, with your indulgence, I will just keep it to myself, for sweet memories only linger in the heart.The sweetest memory ever for the year 2008!To all Operation Taghoy Mission 2008, THANK YOU. As what my priest friend departing words he shared to me before I left for the mission: GO ON MISSION CHILDREN OF CHRIST!

All my love to all back home and Cheers! See you next mission 2009!