A SPECIAL CHRISTMAS PARTY
A friend was able to get Del Monte tomato sauce and Ketchup donated to us in December. Lea, our nurse, told one of our former students, who now lives in Australia, and she donated spaghetti noodles. Then, one of our former teachers now living in Korea, donated cans of corned beef. Lea felt it would be nice to give out these things to the families of our handicapped children and the families of the SPED students at a Christmas party. The snowball effect continued when several of Lea’s friends volunteered to help out at the party and to get gifts for the children. Lea enlisted the help of her sister, who lives in Cagayan de Oro, to come cook chicken, rice and spaghetti for them to eat at the party. The children and parents played parlor games like musical chairs, which is called “Trip to Jerusalem” here. Each family went home with tomato sauce, spaghetti, and corned beef for their family to enjoy.
Many of these parents had not met the other parents and children, since they go to different centers around the island. Some remarked that they had no idea that there were others who had children with similar disabilities. It seemed to make them feel less alone. And they were all grateful to be remembered at Christmas time.
Three children with bilateral cleft lips and palates had their surgery. Lyza, who we mentioned in the last newsletter, was finally healthy enough to have her lip repaired at fourteen months. Rinze had his repaired at sixteen months. And eight month old John Bryan had his lip repaired in January. He is the youngest child we have been able to send for surgery in a long time. It was his third trip to Cagayan. The first time he was found to have aspiration pneumonia. The next time was very close to Christmas and the pediatrician who does the cardio-pulmonary clearance was away for a short vacation. Finally, in early January, he had his surgery. All three children still need palate surgery after six months.
During 2018 we had six newborns with clefts, while we had seven newborn clefts in 2017. And we already have two newborns this year. Nino Jan, one of the children born in 2018, was only brought to us when he was already 13 months old. He has a posterior cleft of the palate that was never noticed when he was born in the hospital. A relative, who is a midwife, could tell that something was wrong because his voice sounds very nasal. So she urged them to come to us. His mother also has a very nasal voice and although she has no visible cleft palate, we suspect she has a separation of the muscles in the posterior palate known as a submucous cleft. When Lea and I examined Nino Jan we also saw that he is very floppy and the mother said he can’t even sit up let alone stand. We would like to send him for surgery as soon as his minor skin problem clears up, but his mother is due to have another baby in a month. He may also need to be referred for physical therapy.
Juden was sent to us by his Grade 1 teacher because he was bending over very close to his paper. We had his eyes checked and he is now wearing glasses for astigmatism and myopia. The teacher says he can see much better now.
Twelve year old Jovane, who is deaf, developed fever and vomiting. After three days his parents brought him to the hospital as he was getting dehydrated. Although we don’t usually help with illnesses like this, the hospital was all out of intravenous fluids so we helped the family buy the fluids and other medicines.
Gian Carlo aged eleven, had to stop going to the SPED class in Mambajao because his mother, who always accompanied him to class, needs to work to help support the family. So Gian is in Kinder at the elementary school in his barrio. The teacher there is happy because he knows how to write, but we know that just copying words won’t help him comprehend what those words mean. We are hopeful that he could return to the SPED class next school year.
Twenty two month old Carl Lawrence has been attending rehab in Sagay for almost two years. When he started at ten months, he could roll over, but couldn’t sit alone. He also has congenital glaucoma and seems to only have light perception. He can now sit up, move around on the floor, and stand and walk around furniture. Unfortunately, he suffered a scald burn on his back and chest when he accidentally kicked his feet and knocked over a thermos of hot water, which his mother had just filled and was about to close with the lid. (They have no table.) He was hospitalized for a week and we provided the burn ointment and other medicines and the burn healed quickly. He likes to play with the musical piano at the rehab center. He only speaks a couple of words. We hope he can attend the Sagay SPED class later on because the teacher there is specialized in helping blind and low vision children.
Grace & Peace,
Contributions are IRS tax deductible (ID#42-1087104) and eligible for matching by employers. They should be payable to "Family to Family, Inc.". If in U.S. dollars, they should be sent to:
Family to Family, Inc.
c/o Availa Bank
126 W 6th St.
Carroll IA 51401-2341
Packages and peso checks should all be sent to:
Barrio Anito, 9100 Mambajao
Letters should be sent to:
3903 Pearl Avenue
Sophia, NC 27350
For photos of children being assisted, click here.