Saturday, February 13, 2010

Carol Goes to the Slums

This is Carol's description of her visit to the Manila slums with the Family Medicine department.  She's got pictures too, which we'll post soon.

Yesterday we went to a province north of Manila to a health clinic
there. It was a very poor area with people living in small homes
stacked on top of each other. The area around the clinic looked bad at
first but then we went outside the clinic area to the project area
which was worse. These were 3 to 4 story building with  families living
on each level of the structure. There were 2 building back to back with
alley's in between. It was really dirty, bars and wood on the windows,
people everywhere. On the bottom level lots of people had tables set up
selling stuff - food home made and packaged candy and such. In the
space between the backs of the buildings there was trash piled deep
with rats running around. We walked up to the second floor and visited
a patient. Surprisingly she had made her home fairly hospitable. It was
clean inside with a tv and entertainment center, couch, coffee table,
refrigerator. The resident we were with said that the  are housed about
100,000 people with as many as 3-5 families sharing one small home.
Sometimes they have to sleep in shifts because there is not enough
floor space for all of them to sleep at the same time. Then we crossed
the highway to the really poor. The first set we saw were homes made
out of wood living at the city dump. The people living there sort
through the trash for stuff they can sell at the little market down the
road called Happy Land. They also collect bottles, wood, cans and such
to sell for recycling. These were the poorest group. Then we saw people
a little better off living in an old factory. Our guide said that
surprisingly most of these people have a tv, dvd, vcr, refrigerator. It
was really interesting and made me thankful to be an American. One of
the major health problems is TB due to the tight living quarters and
non-compliance with treatment. When we went back to the clinic area I
realized how good the people in that area have it comparatively
speaking. It was fairly clean. At the clinic, they provide treatment
for TB, diabetes and other illnesses as well as health education, and

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