We simply praise and thank God for the opportunity and privilege to see our Aeta friends at Tangan-tangan, San Jose, Tarlac last February 26-28, 2016. I was with my husband; Julius Melad when we made the climb.
We arrived at Brgy. Maamot 9 PM, February 25, and prepared for the early morning climb the next day, we stayed overnight at the SIL mission home where the SIL couple missionaries were stationed. We have heard from them; Tatay Ruding and Nanay Belen there had been a recent AFP– NPA encounter a couple days ago. True enough on our way up to the mountains, soldiers were on their way back to the barangay, they asked us where we were headed and we answered we were missionaries, and they did not probed any further. After 3 hrs of hiking we reached the Tangan-tangan and found out most of the BHWs are doing their “uma” (farming in the mountains) while some are making “sawali” (weaving bamboo). We were able to meet with them after a day, Tono, the youngest of Ate Leah had to go their uma and fetch his mother.
Rowena, a BHW on duty the day we arrived, told her experience on managing a 5 month old infant with high fever and convulsions. The patient’s mother refused that her child be admitted at the hospital and resorted to oral medications. After steam inhalation and tepid sponge baths, the patient’s fever resolved and his condition improved. Presently while we were there an old Abellen was just recently bitten by a dog. We told him that he had to go the health center (3-4hrs away) to get his other shots, and also encouraged him that he had to be compliant. 2 more patients appeared to be needing assessment for PTB. We asked the BHWs if they could partner with their chieftain into accompanying them to the health center (the chieftain has his own tricycle).
When asked what health concerns do they commonly encounter and which needed refereshers, they said among the many, they wanted to review identifying symptoms for pneumonia, diarrhea, dog-bite, and PTB. Also we reviewed them of how to recognize danger signs as advocated by the WHO.
During the last night, we prepared coffee and pansit (birthday noodles) and studied the Bible with the BHWs. We talked about the Jesus being both man and God, and the trinity (since INCs are starting to evangelize Tangantangan). They also shared concerns regarding the rotation on who’s going to go on “duty” every night in MAP’s health station, and that they need more confidence in receiving and assessing patients. However they affirmed that, they are more inclined now to recognize emergency and patients that can be managed in the station.
As to their mini botika, some Abellens expressed their gratitude and as to how it is helping the community to have easy access to medications. And that it is better than a regular botica, cause from the station they can get medical attention and advise.
LORD my God, I called to you for help, and you healed me.
Psalm 30: 2
~Julius and Precious Liz Melad