We started our day at Tandiangan community in Baguio. The center is basically a daycare for kids and displaced people. There, the kids learn math, the alphabet, play, and eat a snack or lunch depending on the time they are there. The Tandiangan community center is run by a married couple who are both pastors. We learned about the different medicinal properties that certain plants have, for example mint can help ease a sick stomach and papaya leaves can be used as a preventative for dengue fever. Before lunch we all gave a fun presentation about hygiene to the kids. We started with how and when to wash your hands, followed by how and when to brush your teeth and singing a round of Old MacDonald. The kids seemed to be really into the presentation as they were copying our motions and some even got up to sing themselves. For lunch we handed out meals of pork chops or chicken with juice to the kids. Attendance was called out by our tour guide Mariel to ensure everyone got a meal, and in total there were 130 children. The parents seemed very appreciative for our help and presence in the community. After the visit at the community we went to Gumatdang, a mining community in Baguio. There we walked through an organic farm containing lemon grass (useful as mosquito repellent), passion fruit, flowers, beans, peppers, chickens, ducks, turkeys, oregano, and much more. We had the opportunity to eat passion fruit right off the trees which was a first for me. It was amazing to see how much food was grown there which eliminated any need to buy food elsewhere or to worry about not affording fruits and vegetables. After visiting Gumatdang we went to Good Shepherd, a market that sold jams, cookies, breads, coffee, and even had arts and crafts. I am excited to try the Ube jam, which can only be found in the Philippines. Ube is a type of yam that is purple and used in desserts and pastries in the Philippines. We ended our day at Turning Point Home, which is a halfway house for kids and families in need of a home and a family. The founder Eleanor Sebiano was unable to speak with us but her friend who plays a large role in the organization, Imelda Sedario, gave us a tour and told us about Turning Point Home. Turning Point Home was started to help kids and families that are struggling on their own or have no one else to turn to. Our tour guide, Mariel, actually lived there for 6 years after she left a strict and oppressive household to be able to live her life as she needed and wanted. Mariel is now a strong woman who has gone to college and only depends on herself. The amount of support that Turning Point Home offers kids and families is truly amazing. Imelda told us how Ely (Eleanor Sebiano) relies on God for money when there’s a tight situation, such as cataract surgery for one of the girls in the home. It was emphasized that God’s love enables the people at the home to love these kids and families as their own and therefore support them over time. It seems that their faith allows them to approach kids and families in Baguio that need a helping hand with no fear. Tomorrow we will meet with Mariel and Imelda for a tour around Baguio and I’m excited to learn more about this city.
Health, Wealth, and Faith in the Philippines
The focus of our course is religion, but we will also encounter interdisciplinary issues related to personal and social aspects of health. These issues will be explored through the interpretive lenses of medicine, economics, and ethics. We are 10 Canisius College students and 3 faculty and are happy for you to follow our learning adventures.