Saturday, December 18, 2010

And now, back home.....................Dec.18,2010

As I write this, we are back at the Hilton to get cleaned up and prepare for the return trip back to Louisville. Everyone on the trip is beginning to feel the effects of a week (for some of us, even longer!), of rough travel and hard work. And, now, we are facing about 30 hrs. of air travel to get back home. From Cebu, we fly to Seoul, Korea, then to Atlanta, and finally back home to good ol' Standiford Field. We were fortunate the last few days to have not had any more rain, and it made our travel up and down the mountain somewhat less treacherous. For those who have been following the blog, you will remember our description of seeing not one, but two motorbikes with six people on them. Then, day before yesterday, we saw a motorbike with three adults and four little kids on it--seven people on one motorbike! Couldn't believe my eyes, but Kandi Walker confirmed the number. I am convinced that there is a real opportunity and market out there for a "stretch version" of a regular motorbike. Wouldn't take much, maybe a foot of extra length, and they could put another 2-3 people on the bike. The lack of power doesn't seem to be any problem at all, and such a vehicle is eminently practical for the mountain environment. Some comments about the ubiquitous "Jeepneys", that serve as the transportation of choice for the masses. These "cars/trucks/taxis/etc., vehicles date back to the end of the second world war when American forces left much military materiel' behind, and the Filipino folks set about modifying and adapting them for their own uses. This has apparently developed into quite an industry. They build them here out of all sorts of components, and a variety of power trains. You never see two exactly alike, but they are all similar. Some even have stainless steel bodies that are incredibly fashioned, and are truly works of art. Stainless steel is a very difficult metal to form, but these guys do it with real class. So, stretch motorbikes should be no problem. Well, off to dinner, then the trip home.

Submitted by Thomas J. Clark, DMD

Friday, December 17, 2010

What to say?

The 2010 ISLP Cebu program is winding down; I am writing this in the Vienna Cafe, the night before we leave Cebu. To say this week has been a combination of awesomeness and a deeper awakening to the suffering that is inherent in the human condition, would be an understatement! Taking this moment to reflect on this program, makes me realize how happy I am that I chose to participate in this project to complete my master's practicum. Although my traveling companions for this trip have been great, it has been working with the students in the elementary school and dental clinic that have made this trip worthwhile.

I feel my group, from Banilad elementary, bonded over the three days we worked together and this allowed me to have a real sense of how determined these young people are, and how difficult their lives are. At times my experience of the heat and humidity found me wanting to retreat to the sanctuary of air conditioning, but I would remind myself that I was choosing to be here and my students did not have the luxury of retreat.

I shared many laughs and several tears with my students over our three days together. They worked so hard on their speeches, which was evident on the videos I shot on day 3. They asked me many questions, "Are you rich?", or when I told them I taught at the university, "Are you a genius?", and shared touching stories from their lives, like not having enough money for an Independence Day celebration or that one student had lost his mother.

Working with Banilad elementary and the dental clinic exposed me to harsh reality that lack of infrastructure has on quality of life, but still dignity, sense of purpose, and dreams can trump. I hope everyone who reads this takes a moment to cherish the simple luxuries we are blessed with in the United States and consider engaging or supporting others in service work to help those who do not have these same benefits.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A Picture Says A Thousand Words...

-Lauren Hendricks

Rock star status

Today I had the most pleasant experience at Binaliw. We got to the school and were greeted by plenty of dances and smiling faces. I must admit that I had some apprehension about stepping out of my element as a dental student and becoming a teacher, but I was up to the challenge. The children were very attentive and we had much in common. I love to sing and dance, as well as most of the students there. After going through the planned lessons, we shared with each other dances and songs. I taught the kids in my group how to do the Dougie, and they were so excited to learn something from the U.S. and in return teach me. Another interesting thing that kept recurring was the children's fascination with my hair. One of the students asked me was my hair "inborn" or a style. Another couple of girls came to sit by me and play in my hair. I felt so special for someone to want to be so close to me and generally were interested in learning about me. The people of Cebu are genuinely loving and caring people and I felt that to the max at the best school, BINALIW!!!

Tiffanie, 3rd year dental student

Dental Clinic Operations, Tuesday Dec. 14

Today was the second day of our dental clinic operations at Paril National High School and other than some equipment issues, everything went pretty well. So far, I think we've seen around 60 patients,all of which were kids, with the exception that Melvin did some anterior restorative work on one of the teachers, today. Some observations: all of the kids seen range in age from 7-8 up to 17. Most have significant decay in permanent teeth, mainly molars. Indeed, it is not at all unusual to see teeth rotted off to the gum-line with either acute abscesses, or draining fistulous tracks leading to chronic abscessed roots. I had hoped that we would be able to do more restorative work this year, however, because of such acute needs, we spend most of our time doing extractions. Jay commented today that, we could easily spend all week on a very few patients, involved in comprehensive dentistry, and probably not even put a dent in the need. The way it works is: we have the school principals at each of the barangay schools pick out the 30 neediest kids from a dental standpoint, and each day, we see only those kids. There are four barangays that we are involved in. Given the experience level of our students and the circumstances that we work under, 30 patients per day is a nice manageable number. On any given day, my students range from second year to senior level dental students, with their individual skill levels very variable. In addition I also have 4 other students from various disciplines who serve in the capacity as dental assistants. We have four "operatories" set up and function without the benefit of x-rays, or alot of the other stuff that most dental offices would have. In spite of these conditions, excellent quality care is delivered. Last year, we had some officials visiting from the Ministry of Health, and they were very impressed with our field clinic set up, and the skill level of our students. They were also very impressed with the numbers of patients treated in the relatively short time spent here. We have been told that the government dentists only make it up into the mountain barangays maybe once a year, and then do no restorative work,or as far as we can tell, not much else, either. The roads are so bad that mobile clinic facilities can't make it up there, and the patients rarely come down the mountain for any care, either. So, the services that we deliver are very valuable to these communities. The question is asked,"Why are these kids in such bad shape"? The answer is very complicated. First of all, potable drinking water is very scarce. One would think that, given this is a tropical climate with incredible amounts of annual rainfall, water shortage would be impossible. The problem is, for the communities in the mountains, there is no way to collect this water for later use and no way to distribute it to individual homes. Certainly, municipal fluoridation is unfeasible. During the dry season(there are no seasons other than the wet season and the dry season), water shrinks to a trickle in the stream beds in the mountain valleys, is significantly polluted, and when used, sometimes has to be hauled by had up tricky mountain trails, sometimes for 3-4 kilometers. As a result, the people become essentially dehydrated, and replace the missing water with fruit juices, and soft drinks, neither of which promote dental health. General nutrition seems to be inadequate, and in many instances, the children exist on snack-food, which is cheaper than quality food, and certainly more convenient, requiring no cooking or preparation. Oral hygiene is inadequate, as well, with tooth brushes and toothpaste being relatively expensive. I suspect that there is also a genetic preponderance to susceptibility to dental disease, which also stacks the deck against these kids . Interesting thing, though, is that these kids are really tough and stoic. It is amazing what some of them must have suffered prior to our being able to treat them, and many of them never even flinch when receiving local anesthesia. Ocasionally, their situations present a technically difficult surgical situation, and in spite of it, they handle it very well. My students are flabbergasted by how cooperative and appreciative these kids are. Often, upon completion of whatever procedure was performed, the child will hug the student and thank them for their treatment. That sure doesn't happen much back home. So, this is a good work, a noble work, and well worth the efforts that we all put forth to make it happen.

Submitted by Thomas J. Clark, DMD

Thus Far

As of lately this has been an amazing experience thus far! Julie, Amanda, and I went parasailing at the Hilton on the first few days and we were all able to see the mountains where we were teaching in. Getting to know the entire group, at the Hilton, was a blast. Just being able to hangout with everyone and enjoy each others companionship was amazing. As soon as we went to Fords Inn I was interested to see the change of scenery.
On my first day I was at the dental clinic. I was able to shadow one of the dentist for the first half of the morning and then I had to sterilize the tools in the afternoon. When I was sterilizing the tools it was interesting to see the dentists interacting with the patients. Usually you are on the other side of a dentist chair and not actually helping out with what they are doing, so that is an experience in itself I will never forget.
Today, I was teaching for the first went great! The students welcomed us to Binaliu with a few dances and chants. We obliged them by getting on stage and embarrassing ourselves a bit and dancing with them. We later went in to teaching the programs. Luckily, we were able to finish the communication program early and just sit and talk with the students. Getting to know more about them, and hearing some of their personal stories were my most memorable moments of the entire day. I am so excited to see what the rest of this trip has in store for me and the amazing experiences in the Philippines I have to come.

-Alex J.-

Monday, December 13, 2010

I pulled a tooth!

The day started quite early today as Lauren and I woke thinking it was 6:30 am, but once we turned on the TV we soon noticed it was actually 5:30. While at first I had wished I was still sleeping, I was eventually happy to be awake to take the fun walk with Dr. Jackson. As we walked the streets of Cebu City we saw some walking to work I assume and children making the hike to school. My favorite part was seeing the gated communities, the houses and scenery was so beautiful and reminded me parts of the United States. For the days at the school today I was at Paril in the dental clinic. I had been warned of the bumpy ride up the mountain, but enjoyed seeing the city and scenery as we traveled further up. When we finally arrived at the sbychool we were so kindly greeted with a ceremony put on by the students and faculty. It was an amazing feeling to see so many people as welcoming as them. The rest of the day I assisted in the dental clinic and witnessed some amazingly brave children. They barely even complained of the shots and didn't whimper when their tooth was extracted. While the entire day was very rewarding, my favorite part was being able to pull a tooth! The entire planning of this trip I had been wanting to do something like that and was even more excited once it happened. I was scared I would do something wrong, but was very excited once I finally extracted it. Tomorrow we will be going to Binaliw and I can't wait. We have been planning a long time for this and I already know its going to be an amazing experience.
-Leigh Anne Hendricks -Communications

More Photos Added to Flickr

We have uploaded more photos. To view photos on flickr go to:

We will add photos daily.

Day One Photos


Day One in Banilad

There are not even words that can explain how amazing today was. I was in Banilad Elementary school working with the fourth graders. For all three programs, Communication, Education, and Justice Administration, we worked with the same classroom. Tomorrow, we will be working with the same students in the morning but get two new classes for the afternoon. As soon as we arrived we were greeted by some of the 6 and 7 year olds with a whole Christmas production. They sang several American Christmas songs including "I wish you a Merry Christmas" along with some songs in Cebuano. It was so incredibly touching. They were still extremely shy this morning. I got them to warm up to me by singing them "You belong with me" by Taylor Swift. As uncomfortable as it was for me, they LOVED it and finally joined in. The most touching experience that I had today was when a little girl, barely wearing her uniform, tried to give me her bracelet right off of her hand. So far, every single person I have met here would be willing to give any of us in need literally anything they had. These people barely come from anything yet they are willing to greet us with all of these wonderful things. After completing our morning program we went to about 10 other classrooms in the school to teach them the CARDS cheer. I am going to need a day to prepare myself for another 10 more cheers. Never knew it was so exhausting! I cannot wait for day 2 in Banilad and to meet some new students.
-Kara Keeton, Justice Administration

day one in paril

The ride up was a little scary at times, but after moving a few rocks we made it up to Paril National High School. We were greeted with singing, dancing, and American flags waving in the air. It was truly an amazing experience and set the tone for the rest of the day. A few members from the dental team (and Kandi) joined in with the students for a final dance and then both teams went off to work in the clinic and the classroom. Our team consisted of Anna, Greg, Melvin, and myself for the day. We started off with Comm and the students definitely favored the "Beach Ball" game. We discovered many students had amazing voices from asking their hidden talents, question number four on the ball. We breaked for lunch and the food was very interesting. My favorite new food was the Jack Fruit. We were entertained with a few dances varying from Justin Beiber "Baby" to local favorites. We ended the day with JA and Education and the kids were a lot more active in the second half. They really enjoyed role-playing and were extremely creative with their anti-bullying skits. All in all a great day and can't wait for tomorrow! - - Julie Gingles, JA

Day 1 in Mabini!

We just returned from Day 1 in the schools. My group consists of Dr. Hart, Julia, Lauren, Wyatt, and Ryan was our dental student for the day. We are in Mabini Integrated School, and we had an absolutely great day. When we first arrived, they had a reception for us where different ages performed and danced for us. It was such an amazing experience to see how excited they were for us to be there. They were so thankful and grateful for our presence, and it was the perfect start to the day.
Then, we toured the campus which boasts what they call a garden, but we all agree is more like a farm. They grow their own vegetables and herbs for the community. We visited all the classrooms and ended our classroom for the day and where we will spend the duration of the Communication program. The school ranges from preschool to grade 6, and then years 1-4 of high school. We were with year 4 students today, and we had so much fun with them! I am so excited to spend 3 days with this classroom teaching the Comm program! They were very intelligent and eager to learn our Communication, JA, and Education programs. We taught them cheers, and they taught us some in return. We had a great day at Mabini, and we cannot wait to spend all week there with the kindest people I have ever met.
This has been one of the best days I have ever had, and I am so excited to meet more Mabini students throughout the week!

Staci K

Sunday, December 12, 2010

First Day in the Schools

Today is our first day in the schools. I'm not really sure what to expect so far. I got a little taste of what it's going to be like at the school's by helping up the dental clinic yesterday at Paril. It was very interesting. Many of these children don't have much at home and there were about 50 hanging out at the school on a Sunday. They were doing so much in preparation for UofL visiting their school. They made special signs welcoming us and were sweeping out their classrooms. The children seemed very shy but I don't expect it to stay that way. Today I will be traveling to Banilad with some members from the communication team, Melissa and Justin, some from education, Leslie, and Amanda and I from Justice Administration. Our school is located in the city just a few short blocks away. It will be an interesting day and I am both excited and nervous!!
-Kara Keeton, J.A.

Dental Clinic Setup

We made the journey up into the mountains to set up the dental clinic in Paril, this afternoon. Took the long way in, as the other routes we inaccessible due to the rain and some local construction. Today, it didn't rain, the atmospheric clarity was incredible, and the vistas along the way to Paril were gorgeous. We stopped once ant took some pictures. Everything is so green and lush. There were a couple of places along the way where the road had badly washed out and Pursing's van bottomed out, but we were able to get through with no apparent damage. I tell yah, that Toyota van is one tough piece of machinery...........My old record for the most people seen on one motor bike was broken today--the old record was five on a single motor bike, but today we saw not one but two different motor bikes with six people on each. Crazy!!!! The set up went pretty well, but one of the dental units has a problem with a leaky three-way syringe, on the water side. This syringe is used for rinsing away debris from the operating field and is very important in helping not only the visibility, but also air-drying cavity preps,and as such is an indispensable piece of equipment. Anyway, what is leaking is the Schrader valve inside the syringe housing. Now this is the very same valve that holds the air in your car tires and resides in the valve stem. A phone call back down the mountain to Tom J. resulted in the acquisition of 6 new Shrader valve assemblies, but we will have to acquire a tool to remove the valve from the syringe tomorrow. There is a big tire store across the street from the Ford's Inn where we are staying, and we will try and get this tool in the morning before we head back to Paril. Tomorrow, we see our first patients.

submitted by Thomas J. Clark, DMD

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Day three and we are now at the Ford's Inn in Cebu City! The drive from the Hilton into the city was relatively short, yet scenic. Many of the houses, shops, busy street reminded me of Belize, but it was all new to Leigh Anne. She had never seen anything like this before. Seeing the people and city made her even more excited to work in the schools.
As soon as we arrived the dental students took off to Paril to set up the dental clinic. The rest of us unpacked the program bags and prepared for the school projects. Putting everything together is making us both eager to get to the schools and makes being here feel more realistic. It's hard to believe we are actually here, half way around the world, in Cebu, Philippines!
A group of us is about to leave for the mall. Tomorrow will be our first day in the schools and we can't wait to see more of Cebu!

-Lauren and Leigh Anne Hendricks