We spent our morning getting orientated to St. Paul University and in the afternoon we drove 30 kms out of Iloilo City to a town called Janiuay “honey- why”. This community health clinic is very busy tending to a variety of health issues and needs. In particular delivering infants, rabies, immunizations, leprosy, tuberculosis, parasites, etc. This week we will be staying the staff house there, where we will be living traditionally and cooking over a fire.
A particular disease that sparked our interest was the ancient disease known as Leprosy. This disease causes skin sores, muscle weakness, and nerve damage. The nursing students explained that a lot of misconceptions about Leprosy exist within their culture. Therefore, it is common for families to abandon the sick individual when they learn they have Leprosy. The patients then go to a Leprosy Sanatorium in Iloilo City, where they stay until they are recovered. However, because of the stigma and visible deformities of Leprosy the patients often end up staying in the Sanatorium permanently, fall in love, and have a family of their own. They created a community and even have a school within the Sanatorium. At first we were very shocked that their was a facility that exists for such a disease. This showed us the importance of health education and clarifying myths. We could relate to a lot of health misconceptions in Canada, such as HIV and sexual transmitted infections. We were not able to visit this community, but hope to some time this week.
On our way back to the University, we stopped at the Mere Monique Home, a long term care facility for Sisters that was built 3 years ago. This home was the epitome of the Eden Alternative, which we are striving for in Canada. This home was absolutely beautiful, we were in awe! The home was a mix between a tropical resort and long term care facility. The home consisted of beautiful chapel, ICU, spacious resident rooms, and wide open dining rooms, and hallways. The grounds had a vegetable garden, a pond, and fountain. This home was a beautiful sanctuary for The Sisters