By: Angelita de Guzman Kowalewsky
(click photo to enlarge)
COMPASSION, yes, it was compassion for the sick, the helpless and the vulnerable, that made all of these happen. Sta. Remedios is a small village located in the town of Bulan, Sorsogon, the southern province of Luzon islands in the Philippines. This is the village where I grew up and saw the existing poverty that affects so many lives. It is COMPASSION for the people that drove me to help and make a difference in the lives of the sick and vulnerable, the hungry, the poor children who need education and food. And because of COMPASSION, and through hard work, sacrifice and strong belief that it can be done, Sta. Remedios Charity Clinic was founded. And this is …
HOW IT ALL BEGAN…
My name is Angelita de Guzman Kowalewsky and I have been a registered nurse for twenty five years. Three years ago, I went home to see my ailing mother confined in the local hospital. I brought with me precious medicines, antibiotics that were desperately needed. I went straight to the hospital from Ninoy Aquino International Airport which took fourteen hours by bus. I found my mother feeling better and getting ready to go home. While I was waiting for her, I had the chance to look around. I saw poor emaciated patients with sad look in their eyes, waiting for the family to bring back the much needed medicines from outside pharmacy. Apparently, the system in the hospital is for the physician to asses the condition of the patient, write prescription, and ask the family to buy the necessary medicine and medical supplies like IV tubing, IV fluids, etc. If the family has no money to buy the prescribed medicine and supplies, the patient will have to go home. I noticed some old gloves hanging by the window sill. The nurse told me that they had to wash the used gloves so that they can reuse it. I left the hospital with a heavy heart and feeling helpless. I wished I could do something to alleviate the suffering of those patients. I know in my heart that if they do not get the much needed medicine, they will die one by one.
While I was at home, I noticed one of the carpenters looking very sad. My sister told me that the carpenter’s son, Aldo, and eighteen year old boy, was dying. He had an infected abscess at the right side of his back as big as a grapefruit. Apparently, out of desperation, the parents sold their only carabao (the animal which the family uses for plowing the field) and a pig to take their son to the provincial hospital. When the family could no longer afford the cost of the hospitalization and medicine, they brought him back home to die or wait for a miracle to happen. I asked the carpenter to take me to his house to see the boy. He was very emaciated and barely able to raise his hand to greet me. He was lying on a makeshift bamboo bed. He weighed between 85 to 90 lbs. I offered my help to the family. I told them that I brought with me the best antibiotics and medicines from America which my mother did not use. They brought Aldo to my house in a hammock. I called the local physician in town to help me. We started him an intravenous hydration, gave him antibiotics, multivitamins and nutritious food. After two days of treatment, Aldo was able to sit up and walk with the help of his mother. On the tenth day, he was well enough to go home. His abscess was completely healed except for a little hole where the pus material drained out. I gave him a three month supply of multivitamins. His parents were crying and very grateful. I told them to thank the Lord for I was just His instrument. My mother got well without using the medicines. Those medicines were actually intended for their son so that he may live. God had answered their prayer for a miracle.
The story of Aldo spread around like a wildfire in the village. People various ailments started to come to my house. The cases ranged from simple headaches to urinary tract infection, influenza, to children with fever and cough. There was this young woman who came to me and was crying. She had been sick for several months. She appeared to have the classic symptoms of UTI. I called the physician whom I befriended when we treated Aldo. She was treated for UTI and instructed to come back after a week. When she returned, her eyes were bright and happy. She is clutching a chicken with her husband behind. She told me that for the first time in months she was not in pain. She had no money but she wanted to give me the chicken as payment. I told her that she didn’t have to give me anything. The fact that she felt better was good enough for me. Her husband was smiling in the background and I knew that chicken (a rooster) was his pet.
These are a few of the examples why I want to build a clinic. It is for the people who need medical help. I promised the people in the village that I would come back and build them a clinic with free medicine and free consultation. I came back to the United States, worked hard, worked extra hours, saved money and prayed to God to help and guide me for the task that I was about to embark on was a tremendously great task.
May 25, 2005, the grand opening of:
STA. REMEDIOS CHARITY MEDICAL CLINIC
This charity clinic is dedicated to the people of Sta. Remedios Village especially those who cannot afford basic medical services so that the poorest man, woman and child can get the care they need. The clinic has a consultation room, a holding bed, 2 medicine cabinets, thermometer, and sphygmomanometer. It is a multipurpose clinic. It provides free medical check-ups, free medicine, milk for the children, nutritional supplements for the very old and malnourished, and education on sanitation, diabetes, environmental protection, ecology, and pregnancy and infant care. It also serves as a children’s library after clinic hours. The clinic is staffed by one physician and four helpers. Word spread that there is a clinic where poor people can avail of free medical check-up and treatment.
Here are some photos of the Clinic:
The following were some 0f the medical cases we have already encountered:
1. A man with a large cut on his leg- We did not have sutures so we had to send him to the provincial hospital which was a three-hour ride by tricycle.
2. A patient with pneumonia.
3. Several diabetic patients with problems of hypertension and hyperglycemia, renal failure, edema.
4. A five year old girl carried by her mother to the clinic (see picture in the brochure) She was severely malnourished and at risk of dying.
5. Several malnourished elderly patients suffering from abdominal pain (most probably from gastric ulcer) need nutritional supplements like Ensure plus, etc.
6. Several cases of influenza, gastroenteritis, typhoid, dengue, anemia
We are now serving many villages, patients from as far as the Island of Masbate which is across the San Juanico Strait. Very sick people accompanied by their families are crossing the sea by motorized canoe to seek medical help. This is the situation. We are running out of medicine and medical supplies. I had been supporting this clinic for over four years now. I need your help desperately. Please help save one more life. Let us all get together and continue these humanitarian services.
We need the following:
1. Over the counter medicines for cough, fever, pain, gastric ulcer, headache, hypertension, etc. We accept any medicine you can give.
2. Medicine samples: Don’t throw it away. We can use it.
3. Canned foods for malnourished old people and powdered milk for the children or anything you can give is very well appreciated
4. Multivitamins for children/infant, prenatal vitamins for women, vitamin supplements for men, women. Vit.b-12, B-6, Iron supplement, Vit. C, etc.
5. We need disposable thermometer to prevent cross-infection, Sphygmomanometer(blood pressure apparatus)
6. Old or new EKG machine and supplies
7. Surgical instruments for simple surgical procedures, sutures, scalpels lidocaine 1% or 2%
8. Infant warmer for newly born, forceps, stainless steel basins for durability
9. Medical supplies
Thank you very much for any help you can give. Every donation you give counts. All donations are tax deductible.
Photos by jun and mila asuncion April 29, 2009
On this day we went to Sta. Remedios to visit the Clinic founded by Angelita de Guzman Kowalevsky. We have been wanting to see this Clinic for quite a time already and so we made use of this opportunity last month when we went home.
But when we came it was off the clinic hours so we haven’t seen any patient and medical workers but we were greeted by Angelita’s niece who toured us around the clinic.
The Clinic is small but it symbolizes something very big which is the love for one’s own people and the hope for brighter Bulan’s future. Love moves each of us to sacrifice ourselves to help improve the situation; in the case of Angelita she used her profession to give something back to her humble beginning.
The hope lies in reaching out other people who would offer their help to the Sta. Remedios Charity Medical Clinic in any form- for any help counts, as Angelita says.
For now Bulan Observer helps spread this hope to all its readers from many different places. May we indeed get some positive reactions from the people and other institutions who are in a better situation to help what has been started.
We thank Angelita for her great efforts in realizing her vision to help. It is now for all of us to help her keep this vision alive.
For A Brighter Bulan!
8 thoughts on “Sta. Remedios Charity Medical Clinic”
My Kudos to you!
The era of changes in Bulan has began. Demonstrating to function, using every resource, changing life not drastically but slowly by the power of writing through Bulan Observer and Charity works of Angelita de Guzman Kowalevsky. Dreaming the dream team by setting the best goal in every play in Bulan.Knowing your roots and going back not at the end times but now. Purposeful and dynamic improvements to face. Standing to your ways, allowing changes and developments. Someone like you who have ears to hear, eyes to see, heart to feel. Strong determination to go on through the midst of frustrating moments from the government. This principle of your voices will continue a mainstream. For people like you who can see the needs of your own people, inspite from ten thousand kilometer distance, yet, you are too close and too near to watch over your home Bulan. Yes,work well done. This will not come into reality, if the loving Father in heaven is not around. Let us Praise and thank Him.
I learned to love Bulan just overnight. I am coming back to see you again. Now, I understand my husband more, why he loves Bulan. Sometimes you pick the time and the time picks you and this is the time to follow the path for change. It is because of your love, that counts the most. It is now the best season. So let us go on hand in hand.
My full support,
Mila G. Asuncion
To: Fellow Bulanenos,
This is the time for us to band together and work for the betterment of our dear town Bulan. Even in a small way, we can make a big difference on someone’s life. One person had started it, let us extend a helping hand so that the charity clinic can continue to serve the people.
Jun and Mila Asuncion were gracious enough to take the pictures of Sta. Remedios Charity clinic for everyone to know that there is a clinic that had been there for four years helping sick people.
Lets join together to keep the charity clinic continue its work and function helping the sick and the poor.
Dora the Mouse
Comment by lorena redirected here by jun asuncion.
May 2, 2009 at 5:41 am
daku daku na bongto an bulan, how come wara kita sin hospital na complete an facility maka dagdag sin buhay san mga taga Bulan, an hospital natu nian wara sin facilidad na makabuhay sin saro na emergency, wara sin mayad na staff nan kulang na kulang. An sad news pa matravel pa sin 1 1/2 hour para makaabot sa Sorsogon.
May-on man kuta sin mga Congressman nan Senador na taga Bulan mismo, si Honasan nan si Solis awaton na sa serbisyo, diri man nahahatagan sin pansin ini na importantehon na bagay, daku daku man an Fork barrel, hain mandaw nakakadtu. Kaya pag naiimod ko sinda sa TV, hababaon an regards ko sa kanira.
Nakay an Mayor natu sa Bulan, diri mandaw nahahatagan sin prioridad ini na Hospital sa Bulan, kundi intiro na lag puro pulitika, uubuson na an miembro san pamilya na maging Mayor. Sana hatagan na nira sa iba para may maimudan man an bungto ta.
Sad to say na simple lang na emergency case an an resulta ay namamatay an pasyente lalo na an heart attack o iba pa. Daghanun na an namamatay na taga Bulan dahil sadi na wara sin mayad na hospital, na pinakaimportante ini para sa buhay san tawo.
Sana kun talagang nagmamakulog kamo sa bungto san Bulan nan buhay san tawo, kaipuhan na may-on sin daku na hospital na complete an facility para sa mga taga Bulan. Yoon man kuta kamo sa serbisyo, nakay awaton na panahon, wara sin dianis na hospital an Bulan.
Kaya mga taga Bulan, ikampanya niyo na mahatagan kita complete na facilidad na hospital nan mayad man na staff.
I am Angelita’s proud daughter and am writing to bear witness to her character for anyone who may be skeptical that she has actually done this on her own. Believe it. While I have not seen the clinic myself nor the Philippines in many years, I can tell you that the Philippines and the people there are never far from my mother’s thoughts. As she goes about her daily life, she is always looking for anything that may help the clinic, or feed the children, or put a smile on the faces of those she loves. She will always put them first before her own needs.
She has spent her own money to buy and ship all the medicines and equipment to the Philippines. She bought the land. SHe built the building. She donated a water well to the town. Growning up, I have seen our living room stacked with Balikbayan boxes stuffed with clothes, chocolates, medicine, vitamins, and small treats for everyone. When I say everyone, I mean EVERYONE — the brothers, sisters, aunts, nieces, nephews, and even neighbors. There are children who are now adults who have gone to school thanks to her. I know of a few “Jenny’s” in the family who honor her by naming their children after her most favorite daughter… 😉
If we want to keep the dream alive, reality must be faced. She cannot continue this effort alone. To sustain the clinic long term, she needs help. We can all praise her but at some point we need to decide if what she is fighting for is worth opening our wallets and our hearts. For those in the US, your donations are tax deductible! It is a fully recognized charity in every sense.
Please help her and prove to the people of the Philippines that while one woman can make a difference, she stands on the shoulders of many who support the same dream. I have grown to deeply admire my mother for her heart, her strength of character and her dedication to family and her roots. She is my moral compass and certainly the greatest female role model in my life.
If you would like a PDF copy of the brochure, I will be happy to provide.
Thank you for your support.
Jennifer A. Kowalewsky-Hodges
P.S. Thank you mom… I love you.
To Mrs. Jennifer Kowalewsky Hodges,
Greetings to you!
This is urgent. I need some Infos in connection with the Clinic.
Please keep in touch.
mila g. asuncion
You are right, I have not seen your Mom yet but I have seen her works in the Philippines personally. I was really amazed of her big project. This clinic is existing and my husband and I are very thankful for this great help at Sta. Remedios and its neighboring barrios. I would say, one could search the whole world through but your Mom is one among the few.
So, we really need to support this clinic. I hope it will start from among us in helping for its continued existence.
mila g. asuncion
I am very delighted wit this great initiative and i give credit Mam Dora for that, I am regretting that I am not able to help financially because I do belong to a religious Congregation which also do humanitarian or Apostolic work, I hope one day we will come into my beloved town also to serve the people who are in need. Again Thank you for we know that we are not alone in “promoting, respecting and restoring human dignity” in various works.
this is May and Peter
we stay now around one year in Sorsogon
long time we have not see you!!!!????
our telefon No and email adress
Thanks Best Regards & God bless you
May and Peter Hartmann
ps. send your email to email@example.com