Bicol Community Outreach
On January 15, 2018, as Mount Mayon became increasingly restive, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, ordered the evacuation of some 75,500 residents from 39 barangays in 7 municipalities and cities in Albay, Bicol. Mount Mayon, known for its almost perfect cone, is an active volcano located in the province of Albay, in the Bicol region, southeast of Manila.
A contingent of 13 Acudetox Specialists (ADS) and volunteers from various points of the country went to Legaspi City in March 1-6, 2018 to respond to health issues and needs of evacuees in 2 of 67 designated evacuation centers.
The conduct of the community outreach was an opportunity, as well, to network and link-up with organizations in Bicol for possible NADA training sessions in the future, to serve as exposure for ADSes who joined the first time in community outreach, and to build camaraderie/solidarity among ADSes coming from different regions of the country thus strengthening the NADA Spirit.
Among the participating ADSes were three senior citizens–mothers and grandmothers as well–from Paco, Manila. Many amazed patients wondered how these old and seemingly fragile women learned acudetox and how they could manage to volunteer their services to people in distress. “It’s the NADA Spirit at work,” was their quick response.
LIGHT MOMENTS: Paco mothers (from left to right – Daisy, Mona, Fe and Cres).
Acudetox advocates from the Bicol region, including two local ADSes from Naga and Legaspi Cities, the UNTV-Bicol, Dr. Ruben Caragay, the Dean of the College of Medicine of the Bicol University and Msgr. Ramon Tronqued, the parish priest of the Tabaco Catholic Church provided valuable support to make the NADA-organized community outreach, successful. This community outreach was also made possible through the kind and generous donations from ADSes, friends and relatives.
SOLIDARITY AND CAMARADERIE: ADSes with Msgr. Tronqued.
A total of 621 patients (401 acudetox treatments and 220 magnetic beads) from two evacuation centers – Gogon Central School in Daraga and Bical, in the town of Sto. Domingo – were given treatments. The patients in Gogon were mostly from Brgy. Bogna while those in Bical were from Brgy. Lidong. The 5-point ear acupuncture treatment, known as the NADA Protocol, was administered to patients composed of 256 women and 145 men.
Magnetic beads were applied mostly to children and teens.
Most of the patients are farmers, while a significant number are teachers, local government officials and other professionals. Many patients complained of sleeplessness, body pain, mental and body stress, and varying degrees of trauma. Among other complaints were chronic diseases, bone-related cases, strokes and heart diseases. Lany Anonuevo of Brgy. Lidong, reported that 768 families (2,687 individuals including children) from her barangay, where she is the village chief, were moved to the Bical evacuation center as early as January 15, 2018. Coughs and colds were the common medical conditions of children, because it was extremely hot during daytime but very cold in the evening in their designated makeshift housing.
Three clinic days were held in two areas. During the first day, all ADSes were assigned to treat patients in the Gogon Central School, where about a thousand evacuees from Brgy. Bogna were housed. On the second and third days, the ADSes were divided into two groups – one small group remained in Gogon, while a bigger group went to Bical.
At the end of every clinic day, a feedback session was held, and on the last day, a reflection session. Synthesis and recommendations for ways forward completed the reflection session.
The daily feedback session provided patient reaction before and after treatment. Ear acupuncture is an entirely new thing for most people in the evacuation centers.
UTMOST SERVICE, LIMITLESS SMILES: ADSes at work.
Most patients were initially wary and anxious, not knowing what to expect. During the treatment, however, most patients were relaxed, while some fell asleep. A young ADHD patient, for example, stayed calm during the duration of the treatment, to his mother’s delight. He was the first to line-up the next day for follow-up treatment and encouraged more patients to try acudetox. A significant number of patients, likewise, returned for the second day for follow-up treatment.
Most of them said they felt relaxed and their stress became manageable. Many of the patients were able to have a restful, uninterrupted sleep. Some expressed willingness to complete the three-day treatment, while some regretted having missed out some sessions. Most children and teens were eager to try magnetic beads and many said that they were more focused and composed after treatment. Many of their friends came for treatment on the second and third clinic days.
The reflection session was an opportunity to share insights to this community outreach. Jao Codillo, the point-person in the Bicol outreach, said that though the whole process – from preparations to actual conduct of the community clinic, was admittedly tiring, “we should always be mindful that whatever good things we do will not result to anything bad. Keep smiling because our smiles are free, no amount of money can buy it.’
Many of the participants expressed that they were happy in being able to serve others, with two of them saying that community service is, in fact a calling from God. Many of them expressed their appreciation to NADA for the opportunity to serve and to join community outreach projects, and their families, as well for allowing them to be part of this undertaking.
Jane del Rosario, another participant expressed her insight in another way. She said, “It feels good serving others whom you do not know.” She also said that “learning is best when you do it,” which this community outreach had proven to her.
Fe Morales, one of the Paco mothers, may think that she is an ordinary person, a plain nanay. But she was quick to say that “ordinary persons can do extraordinary things,” and in her case, being able to learn and practice acudetox and give treatments in the community is an extraordinary thing.
The Bicol community outreach may mean many different things to the participants, but community outreach projects such as this, strengthen the camaraderie and the NADA spirit in them.
(Article written by Ador Ramo.)