by ACIM ASIA
0 - January 19
Here we come for the Eighth Medical Mission of ACIM-ASIA and the Asian
District of the Society of St Pius X ! Tacloban was obviously the best
choice for the location this year after the tragic Yolanda Typhoon of
November 7-8, 2013. We had heard so much about it that, compelled by
our holy faith and divine charity, we had to come and do our part.
The last night of the journey was short for a good number of us: arriving
in Manila airport from all over the world on Saturday evening, our flights
for Tacloban were around 4.30 a.m. which also meant sleeping on chairs
or on the airport floor… a good start for a mission of charity.
Then, after a flight disturbed by a lot of turbulence, we finally reached
our destination and had the chance to meet the local team. The first
impression of an outside volunteer was to notice that the Filipinos
are a very kind and generous people - always ready to offer help, time,
and services to others.
After the Holy Mass celebrated by the district superior of Asia, Father
Couture, and sung by the Brothers of St Bernard Novitiate who all came
for the Mission (it took them 4 days to do what can be done by plane
in 2 ½ hours), we had brunch in a local restaurant where we could
talk to each other and get to know the other volunteers. What a surprise
to see people from different continents joining together to make this
mission a success!
feature in this year’s mission is that we have added a “construction
team” to the medical team. So much physical damage has been caused
by the typhoon - such as the complete destruction of the SSPX chapel
and severe damaged, if not completely destroyed houses of our faithful
– that the mission had to be more than merely medical.
In the afternoon, we have the important orientation meeting with all
the volunteers. This year, so far (I say ‘so far’ because
we are awaiting more volunteers, from Manila and the other islands,
who have not been able to come yet because of the cancellation of many
ferries due to rough waters), we are 51 volunteers who have responded
to the call for the Rosa Mystica Mission. We introduced ourselves by
giving our name, country of origin, profession, and the reason we came
to the mission. We have 7 volunteers from Australia, most of them are
helping in the construction mission. Like every year, volunteers from
France are numerous, 23; and as usual, their French leader, Doctor Dickes,
is full of energy. We also count 8 US volunteers, among whom is a very
important member of the Rosa Mystica, Doctor Elizabeth Phalen, who has
come for the eighth time from far away North Carolina. Others come from
Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, Korea, Switzerland, and Belgium. Of course,
we are not very useful without the help of the Filipinos who are doing
an enormous and wonderful job, both in the medical area and now necessary
SSPX chapel that needs to be restored in Christ
We are from different countries, we speak different languages, and we
have different ages and backgrounds; but we have one thing in common.
We have the same faith and charity, and the same willingness to help
the population of Tacloban, so unfortunately hit by the Yolanda Typhoon
on November 8th.
in Tacloban is worse than expected. We did not know what we were going
to see, despite the images we saw in the news. The majority of the buildings
are destroyed; people are living in the street; and waste covers the
roads. Nevertheless, life seems to continue, and people are trying to
children's pharmacy gets organised
The first boxes of medicines are arriving. The pharmacy is getting organized
in the dark as there are no lights in the astrodome (stadium) where
the mission takes place. The volunteers are ready, even excited, to
begin the mission.
Isabelle, from Belgium
nights come early in Tacloban, and there is no electricity in the dome