Category Archives: Angelita de Guzman Kowalewsky aka "Dora The Mouse"

The True Identity Of Dora The Mouse

by jun asuncion

Here’s a motivating,  inspiring comment from Dora The Mouse:

To Jun and Tonyboy Gilana

“I love the exchange of comments! It is so honest, democratic, educational, open minded and frank. This is the way it should be. I give you my respect for the honesty and sincerety of your individual statements, concerns and opinions.

This is what I admire about Bulan Observer. We can express our opinions, thoughts and concerns. Through exchange of views and concerns, we are continously learning new things either in politics, science, philosophy or even witty jokes from Atty Benjie. I am interested to buy the book History of Bulan when it is ready.

Bulan Observer is the place for everybody to have the chance for young taga-Bulans to contribute their talents and fresh ideas and for older people to share their wisdom and life experiences so that other people will learn from them. It is a great place to give and to share ideas and sometimes take those ideas and apply them to your daily life.

Thank you Bulan Observer for the many fine articles you shared with us readers.”

Dora the Mouse

                                                                                  ———Announcement————

Angelita De Guzman Kowalewsky  aka Dora The Mouse

Dora The Mouse has decided to get out of the hole  where she used to live (or hide) and is now sharing us her true identity after she had read my post The Town Of Bulan Is Different where I touched on the issue of Anonymity. Her true name is Angelita De Guzman Kowalewsky. She authored for us articles like Poignant Memories  Of The Past, Money Is Not Everything, etc. She is also  the founder of St. Remedios Charity Medical  Clinic. We thank her for all her charity works!

Thanks Dora, I mean Angelita, for your true concerns for our town Bulan!

jun asuncion

Bulan Observer

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Sta. Remedios Charity Medical Clinic

 By: Angelita de Guzman Kowalewsky

(click photo to enlarge)

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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

P1080917This 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:

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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

Bulan Observer

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!

jun asuncion

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My Dogs Georgie Boy And Lucie

 

By: Dora the Mouse

It was unusually cold in this particular winter night. The temperature tonight dropped down to – 17 degrees. I went out to get some firewood at the backyard and it was freezing cold. I live alone and no one is there to help me haul a few logs of firewood for the fireplace. My little Chihuahua dog was shivering from cold and stayed inside the house. I was a little bit scared going outside in the dark by myself getting the firewood. It was in this situation that I thought of getting a big dog for companion and as a guard dog.

Today I went to the dog pound and look for a big dog that I can adopt. I want to adopt a German shepherd but this German shepherd I was looking at was noisy and continuously barking and wants to bite me, on the other hand, there was this Samoyed white dog looking at me and was very quiet. He was looking at me with a sad look in his eyes as if telling me to adopt him. I went ahead and adopted this gentle white dog and took him home after paying a fee and getting his shots. I named him George.

George and I had been inseparable since then. When I watch TV, George watch the TV too. Everywhere I go, George went with me. One day, I decided to go to see my little (Ranchito) orchards up in the mountain. I planted a lot of fruit trees like peaches, nectarines, plums, cherries and pears. The trees started to have tiny buds of fruit and need some clearing of grass around the trees. I was so engrossed with what I was doing that it was already dark. George, my dog, sat right in front of me to protect me from anybody who was foolish enough to approach us. When my son finally arrived to pick me up, George gave a big growl and was ready to attack my son  and if he didn’t identify himself early enough, he could have been bitten. Samoyed dog are normally gentle, happy- go-lucky dog. That’s how protective this dog is.

I did a research about my Samoyed dog and this is what I found. The Samoyed derives its name from the Samoyedic people from Siberia. Samoyed dog is an all-white dog with a fluffy coat, upturned tail, and a characteristic smile. They were breed by a group of nomadic Samoyed people for herding and hunting deer. They were also use for pulling heavy carts and sleds. It is rare to find a Samoyed dog, aggressive, angry, and irritable. In 1889, they were brought to Europe for breeding but they mostly use for sole companion. They are very loyal and very friendly breed of dogs. I am very lucky to have my dog George with me.

One summer morning, I woke up feeling very sick and unable to get up. I was so sick that I can not even stand up. I called my son to come and see me. He lives about 30 miles from my house. Meanwhile, my little Chihuahua Lucie and George suddenly got on top of my bed and surrounded me. They normally don’t do this. I never allowed them on my bed, but this time, I think they can sense that there is something wrong with me. My son and the paramedics arrived and were trying to get me into the gurney, my two dogs were growling and refused to leave me. My son literally has to bodily take George and Lucie from me. I can sense that George was panicking and don’t want to leave me until I assured him that everything will be alright. I was confined in the hospital for five days. My son went back to my house to put some dog food and water for my dogs. Three days later, when my son went back to check my dogs and my house, the dog food was not touch. My dogs were very depressed and were not eating. I never realized how much dogs can love their master. I talked to my dog’s veterinarian and I was told that dogs can get depressed. I finally got better and went home after a few days. My dogs were very happy and I was very happy too. They started to eat and play again. Our lives went back to normal. I go to work early in the morning somehow, my dogs know exactly my time of arrival. They were all waiting and looking out the window. I can hear their happy barking. It’s a wonderful feeling to see these two dogs eagerly waiting for me.

I had been working for the past many, many years and had been supporting my relatives in the Philippines and my other charitable projects. I thought, I will spend a part of my life for myself and my dogs. It’s been my dream to travel and explore the 50 states of USA but never had the time or money to do it. I was busy raising my three children, helping my folks in the Philippines and my other projects. My children are now grown-ups and on their own. I have this charity project that I am happy to maintain and support that keeps me going too. I finally got the courage to realize my dream. I bought this 30 ft. motorhome big enough for my dogs and me. It has two separate beds in the back room, one for me and one for George and lucie. It has dining room with adjacent kitchen complete with microwave, oven, stove and a nice double sink, plenty of storage cupboard and it also has a refrigerator, a separate shower and a bathroom. It is like a self-contained home away from home. I gathered all the fishing gears, my late husband had accumulated for many years, cleaned them, bought some more baits and a big tackle box. Now I’m ready to go fishing. I went to the grocery to shop for non-perishable food and dog food. My children gave me a GPS system to help me find my way around. I am very poor in directions, it is pathetic. My children were worried for me to be traveling alone in this motorhome. Well, to relieved their worry, I bought this life size used manikin ,dressed it with a man’s clothes and put on an old man’s boots, complete with cowboy hat and sat it on the passenger side of the motorhome. See, I have a companion! They were all laughing. But you know what, it looks so real.

We went out on our first fishing trip in the motorhome. My dogs and I went to Gaviota, a seaside city park where they allow fishing where we stayed overnight. My dogs were restless and were vigilant. Every little noise, they bark and go to my bed and try to wake me up. It was an all night activity. I didn’t get enough sleep neither my dogs. But, after I had my first cup of freshly brewed black coffee, I realized that my dogs did a very good job of guarding the motorhome and me.

Well, this is what I can say about dogs in general. Whether the dog is pure breed, half mixed, native, or any kind of breed, dogs are generally very loyal animals. If properly trained and given a loving care, these dogs can give you back a thousand times more of love, loyalty and ready to be on the frontline for you. There were some instances that when a person was angry, he/she goes home and kick the dog instead. Please don’t do that. Kick the brick wall or a trunk of a tree to express you anger or frustration, not the dog. Dogs are precious like my dogs, Georgie Boy and Lucie. That is why there is this saying “Dogs are Man’s Best Friend” and it proved to be very true. Maybe, some of you can share wonderful dog stories, too.

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A Greeting From The Mouse

Hello Jun and family,
… Happy New Year! I know it has been awhile since I communicated with you. I had been busy the past months. I read your latest articles and other contributors of the Bulan Observer. Bulan Observer is a great channel for people to express their thoughts, opinions, concerns, ideas, inspirations, experiences and most of all it opens the way for people to freely express their voices and to be heard and not to be intimidated. I am writing a few articles and will be ready in the next few weeks. Again, I want to thank you as the administrator and one of the authors of Bulan Observer for the dedicated services it offers. God Bless You and your family.

Dora the Mouse

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When Money Is Not Everything

By: Dora The Mouse

 

When I was a child growing up, I’ve seen poverty and misery at a very young age. I experienced hunger and deprivation like everybody else around my neighborhood.  Those were the years when one can not really comprehend what poverty really like until you experienced it.  When it rains, it poured rain into my house. When I was cold , there was no sweater to keep me warm. When I was hungry, there was no food to eat . When I was sick, there was no medicine to ease my pain. My grandmother will kill a chicken to see what is inside the chicken and diagnose my illness. When I go to school, there was no breakfast to nourish my brain.  When I go home from school, there was no food on the table. When I go to church, I did not have  shoes on my feet. I go barefooted. One time, my  late father bought me a pair of shoes three sizes more than the size of my feet. I cried and told him that the shoes are too big for me. He told me to put some old newspaper inside and it will fit me. He told me that my feet will grow into it.  Three years later, my feet really grew into it and I stop putting newspaper inside my shoes. When I cry for help, there was nobody there to help because everybody was helpless too.   Years later, when I was 10 years old , we still suffer from hunger . My cousin and I will sit under a mango tree after a day’s work in the rice field talking about our aspirations in life.  Everybody wants to be rich like what we see in the movies. We dreamed about driving beautiful cars, big houses and pretty dresses with matching shoes, all the candies and chocolates we can buy. It was fun to dream big dreams but can I  really  do it in real life? Everybody just shrugged it off because we were poor and can not even afford to go to  high school  how much more in college.  As a ten year old kid, I thought, life was a daily struggle to survive. How much more going to college and fulfill my dreams.  It was a big dream for a ten year old kid. I didn’t have a clue how and where to start. But our poverty and the hardships I went through while growing up gave me a very good lesson in life that I carried through out my adult life. It gave me inspirations to work hard, set a goal and go for.   DO NOT GIVE UP! My late father said. Life is like a wheel sometimes you are up there and sometimes you are down here.  Right now we are down here poor and struggling.  Try and work hard.  Whether you succeed or failed at least you tried than not trying at all.  In other words, give your best shot and go for it in full throttle.

Many years later, I reached the age wherein I was ready to tackle whatever is in the future for me. I work hard, I mean, really  hard. You can imagine, working during the day and go to school at night. No vacation, no outing like any  other young adult does. I was stubborn like a tiger and nothing can stop me to reach and attain the goal I set for myself.  A few years later, I finished college and work hard until I   reach the very top of the ladder. I have a good position at work, earned good money, bought anything money can buy, like my dreams with my cousins when we were young and sitting under the mango tree.  Bought the latest sport car,  went to the best restaurant in town and bought the latest designer clothes with matching bags and all. Took care of my relatives and made their lives more comfortable but I still wasn’t happy. The material things that surround me were a temporary pleasure. There was something missing in my life that I tried to search and understand.  I tried to be spiritual and search my heart and my soul. What is it? I was  restless, searching aimlessly, where is happiness? My heart is empty of that inner contentment and peace.  I HAVE EVERYTHING MONEY CAN BUY, BUT IN ACTUALITY I HAVE NOTHING. 

MY SEARCH FOR HAPPINESS.   I traveled and went to far places to search for that elusive HAPPINESS. It was a lonely road. I’ve seen poor people on the sidewalk begging for food, a mother with a child in her arms sitting and trying to breastfeed her child but the child continued to cry. I know that the woman probably does not have enough milk. She herself looks emaciated and hungry. I’ve seen little Nipa  Huts with holes on the roof like we used to have many years ago. I saw this man age 35 years old but look 55 because of long years of carrying heavy gravel by the sack. I’ve visited a local elementary school and the old Principal told me that the children fetch their drinking water from the river nearby and asked me if I could donate a water pump.  I promised him that I will donate a water pump . I spoke to one of the school children  that caught my attention for he was very quiet in the corner.  Asked him if he ate his  breakfast, and he replied, there is nothing to eat but I  still go to school. This reminds  me of long ago when I was his age going to school hungry.  I told him maybe he will have lunch and he replied, if there is any food. What if there is no food, I asked, then I go to sleep. Why sleep? Why not play? I don’t have the energy to play. By the time I finished my interview with him, I was the one crying and the little boy was just looking at me with bewilderment in his eyes.  I’ve visited a local hospital in Pawa( Gotladera Memorial Hospital)  and saw the plight of the patients waiting for help. If they don’t have the money to buy the medicine and medical supplies that was prescribed, then , I guess, they will  just go home without any relief of his/her ailment. I encountered a  very old man walking along side the road, limping and in agony. He told me that he has “rayuma” but can not afford to buy the medicine for pain. Apparently, his children a son and a daughter both died a long time ago. There is nobody there to help him in his old age.  He makes his living by planting camote and camoting kahoy but his rayuma is getting worse now. He is worried what will happen with him when he can no longer get out of the house to work. I looked at him in his eyes, he was crying. I held his old wrinkled  hands and whispered  to him, Help will come soon and  left with a heavy heart. When I reached my house, I send him some rice and medicine for pain.

Why? why all these poverty?  What is the government doing ? Where are our leaders? It had been twenty years since I left my barrio. I did not see any progress. Nothing.  I saw the same people that I used to play with years ago, the sign of hardship in life was very visible. Their sad look in their eyes, the several lines in their brows and faces, the missing teeth for lack of dental care, the emaciated look, the hardened hands from years of  working in the field. These were my friends and when I saw them, I feel very sad.  The government has to do something and do it NOW!

 THE SEARCH FOR HAPPINES IS OVER. After a long search for that inner peace and contentment that I was missing in my life, I finally found it. It was right here in my heart  all along.   The poverty and hunger I went through when I was a child was the driving force to seek the reasons of my restlessness and unhappiness. I want to know why? All the successes that I gained and the honors I was bestowed from my dedication at my work was just a piece of paper. My heart was still empty. I felt like a restless soul, searching, wandering aimlessly in the open field, where all I can see was vast space of empty fertile land with no grass growing, it was like my life, empty and hollow. From the lonely path I was traversing ,  I finally found the happiness I desperately sought.  It was the  realization that YOU CAN NOT BUY HAPPINESS AND  MONEY IS NOT EVERYTHING.

WHAT MONEY CAN DO.  I finally found the happiness, contentment and peace I had been looking for. It was my unfulfilled passionate desire to do something to alleviate the sufferings of the poor people that I love. I used to be one of them.  but I didn’t know how and  where to start.  It didn’t dawn to me until I talked to this elementary school boy with those big brown sad eyes. It reminded me of the time when I was his age, hungry and poor. It’s when I saw the old man limping along the road. The young man with a sack of gravel (graba).  I embarked on a mission to help the poor and never expected in my wildest dream that the respond was a tremendous success.

So, what is it? It’s been there for many years and had been serving the poor people for a long time. Maybe it already served some of you but you don’t know who is behind the scene for I don’t seek glory or praise. I am just happy and contented doing it and thankful to God for  guiding me find my niche and  giving me the courage and wisdom to do my mission in my small humble way. 

  I dedicate this article to my late father who taught me the power of pray, love, compassion, humility, hard work and never give up. 

                                                                                          Dora the Mouse

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