Volunteer for German Doctors – Philippines Mindanao/Mindoro Part II

In the first article about my work for German Doctors I wrote about Enthusiasm and Resignation. If you missed out on that, you can read it here :) 

Today its gonna be tougher for me because I wanna tell you something about

HAPPINESS and SADNESS.

Let’s start with happiness.

Happiness for me is the moment when I can’t do anything else but smile.

Since I started my journey this happened to me every single day :) for various reasons.

It’s an emotion which I discovered for me as the most important in life, because only if I am happy, the people around me can get a part of my happiness and enjoy my company.

Very often this moment comes over me in the least expected times. It can be joy, contentment, funny things, it can be something I do for the first time and it can end in laughs until I cry.

During my work with German Doctors which is very often tough, I had a lot of those moments I will never forget.

When the team set up our site, I usually went on a stroll around the village to check out the area, to take pictures to enjoy the calm before the storm. Apart from some shy children every now and then, I usually was greeted with smiles and laughs of kids. 

Smile :)

And who doesn’t automatically smiles when children run up to you and say „picture, picture“, fool around, giggling and jumping around?! I do! Yeahhhh first happy moment of the day!

Having fun with the kids

The rolling clinic team always starts the day with a little workout with our patients. One day it was my turn for the first time in my life to be the instructor :) and what can I say, it was not only a lot of fun for our patients, it was fun for me too and again a little happiness reached my heart.

Morning Workout with the tooth fairy   !!!! check it out!

Hmmmm then I started with my daily work of pulling teeth and most probably every single one of you will ask, how can a dentist cause happiness :) most fear us right?! (by the way, there are many lovely, gentle ones out there hahahaha).

IMG_6133

But the people I treated had a smile on their face when they left my dental chair, because I relieved them from pain and even if it was a bit crooked for the time the anesthesia works .. hey .. no toothache anymore. And their smile and appreciation made me smile in return.

still smiling             my new Mangyan Friends

I saw children play with the simplest things: an old tire they pushed with a stick, a coin they need to remove from a step by blowing air with their hands on the coin (which isn’t easy I tried it and the coin didn’t move a thing :) ) , throwing a flip flop, playing with marbles, sliding down a pile of gravel and always it made me smile.

Playing with a coin             Playing with marbles

After my work was done I sometimes played with them too. Once there were these 5 boys with a basketball (in every single village is a basketball court of some kind). I told them to sit down behind each other on a wooden bench. I myself was sitting in front, took the basketball and gave it over my head to the next one behind me and so on. The last one needed to run in front and start the same again. After a couple of rounds I quit and the boys carried on and soon there were approximately 10 boys on this old bench till … it broke and all fell down. Everybody standing around watching as well as the boys on the ground was laughing so hard :)))). Another happy moment.

And even a baby girl was named after me in one of the villages. She was only 3 months old and didn’t have a name yet. So the mom decided to give her mine :)))

Meet Winnie:

Winnie

What always made me laugh were the animals who walked by – water buffalos or even walked underneath my dental chair :)  cats, dogs, quail and even pigs once :))) … unfortunately I don’t have a picture of it! But here is one of a Carabao – Water buffalo

Carabao

Every day when we drove back from a day full of work at the rolling clinic I felt very content, because I knew I had helped a lot of people. I had this huge smile on my face and was fulfilled with what I had done, no matter how hard the day was. One day we even worked till it was dark, but always I had this huge smile on my face and felt happy at the end of the day.

working till it was dark

But not only the people in the villages had their fun, we, our team had loads of fun too. Singing while treating patients, singing karaoke and always joking around. I guess it’s a way of coping with all the sad things we see.

Karaoke :)

Which brings me right to the next emotion – Sadness.

As I started working for German Doctors I knew there will be situations where I will struggle with my emotions. And if it comes to sadness I am an emotional chicken as I call it.

What made me sad mostly, was to see malnourished children. Those tiny precious creatures starving, crying. And one day at lunch time I cried too, because I couldn’t hold my emotions back anymore, that sad I have been. I needed to get it off my chest to be able to work again and do what I am supposed to do, but it was one of the most emotional moments during my time there.

I asked myself, how can this be in a country as rich in natural resources as the Philippines?!

beautiful countryside

From what I got to know, the people there don’t own the land they live on and mostly work as laborer on fields, earn nearly to nothing (approx. 3 Euro a day). And additionally often have no water and/or electricity.

No wonder that  some of them looked like they didn’t clean themselves for days, wore dirty clothes, children sometimes just old, torn t-shirts or even nothing.

boy              boy with decay

boy crying              boy

In my first article you have seen some pictures of the condition of the dentitions. check it out here!

As a dentist this makes me sad as well, no question about that. Much too expensive toothbrushes and toothpaste and the lack of knowledge about hygiene und nutrition is the reason for it, plus very cheap sweets/candy :( seeing kids at 9 am with a lollipop in the mouth … makes me sad.

Girl with Lollipop

It touched me most when I needed to extract teeth of my little cute patients, sometimes just 5 years old. My heart ‚bled‘ and deep inside I cried. But I needed to be professional and tried to help with jokes and gentle care to make them feel comfortable on the dental chair. And when I was done, those brave hearts gave me a high five and made me happy again.

Sometimes Happiness and Sadness are so close…

What I learnt from the people of the Philippines is… to stay happy and smile no matter what.. always make the best out of the worst situation! I admire them for this positive spirit they have and hope I took some of it with me!

Are you curious already about which chapter I will open in part III ? Stay tuned and you will figure it out!

If you are waiting for some more photographs of mine check the latest gallery: Black and White Portraits 2015

And don’t forget to also check my latest challenge here  :) and as always I would like to ask you to participate and donate for my German Doctors Donation Mission! Every penny counts and million thanks for all the support!

Yours truly The Tooth Fairy

Posted on 18/10/2015 in Blog, Missions

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Responses (6)
  1. Naz
    18/10/2015 at 17:51 · Reply

    “Sometimes happiness and sometimes sadness are so close” – wow! That’s a ‘eureka’ moment right there and I am sure you are having so many of them right now. I need to say it again, it’s amazing what you’re doing and I am so proud of your magical but very real adventures.
    It’s heartbreaking to read about how sweets have taken over real food. The land looks so fertile! What kind of world do we live in that we can’t even use a tiny piece of land that we live on the make some healthy food but rather get poison packaged food thrown at us that’s not good for us or the environment? This is when I despise Govt’s for allowing things like this to continue to happen and corporations for not having one ounce of goodness. Thank the universe people like you exist!!

    • winnfried
      18/10/2015 at 17:55 · Reply

      awwww my dear sunshine :) thanks for those words that really touches me and I totally agree! love and miss you!

  2. Jürgen
    27/10/2015 at 18:24 · Reply

    Sorry I am too lasy to write in english. Danke, dass Du die emotionale Seite unserer Tour so schön beschrieben hast ! Könnte ich nicht halb so schön oder gar nicht. Ohne Dich wären mir viele Aspekte der Rolling Kliniktour verborgen geblieben. Vor allem das : “What a wounderful landskape you have in Mindanao!” Hat mir für die nächsten Touren geholfen. Ein Aspekt Deiner Arbeit : Bei den vielen rheumatischen Herzklappen + Nierenschäden die wir Allgemeinmediziner dort sehen , gehe ich davon aus das Deine gründlichen “Abbrucharbeiten” sicher einigen dieses Schicksal erspart haben . Auch wenn wir nicht wissen wem es half ,gilt : jeder einzelne zählt !
    Nochmal danke für den Beitrag
    German doctor Jürgen

    • winnfried
      28/10/2015 at 09:31 · Reply

      Thanks Jürgen :) it was a pleasure for me working with you and thanks for the fun and cheering up when I needed it! Stay happy! Winnie

  3. Marleen
    28/10/2015 at 09:14 · Reply

    Traurig aber super schöner Ariticle babe!!
    Your kindness will change the world a little bit! And every little counts !
    Lots of love
    Marleen

    • winnfried
      28/10/2015 at 09:30 · Reply

      Xo :)

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