The first time I visited the pediatric ward at the Provincial Hospital in Dumagute City, I got tears in my eyes. Everything was so shabby and rundown. I collected money from friends in Norway and refurbished the department totally. Managed to get Siemens Norway to provide medical equipment for 500 000, and visited the ward every Christmas with "Norwegian" Santa Claus and packages to all the kids that were there. Most people with fevers and diarrhea because of the weather at the time of the year.
The best feature of my own Christmas celebration was a visit with the children. I popped by quite often after the renovation was completed with financial assistance to children whose parents had no money for medicines. Even in public hospitals a lot had to be paid.
After moving to San Carlos City 180 km. north of Negros, in a typical sugar-producing district, I found a poverty even more glaring because their economic engine, a large sugar factory had gone bankrupt and almost left a paralyzed society.
After I had somewhat recovered after a hip replacement in 2006, with two slides later, I started over again. In 2008 money was collected for a Christmas charity for street children, as well as the sick and old in San Carlos City. It was for food, medicines and clothing. and my helpers were sent out to find those who needed it most. Where we found them, made me silent.
In a black cave under a bridge over the main road into town lived a family with children. Around them some others, and they turned out to be 27 in all, including 16 children and an old grandmother. They got some big plastic bags with food and medicines that were given elsewhere around town, and some clothes. It was Christmas Campaign 2008.
It was not possible to get rid of the idea of ??the conditions these poor people, especially children, were living under. From my kitchen food was regularly delivered to them through the year 2009, and in October, we made plans for a longer-term assistance project for them. New begging round to friends in the north, and the Norwegian "brubarnaksjonen" (Bridge Children Project) started. First were those who needed the medical care of our small budget, big and small could eat their fill, perhaps for the first time in many years, if ever. All were equipped with new clothes, simple home-made tents were set up. It was a new life under the bridge for the 27. They had been living almost like animals. They could not read and write, did not know the age and date of birth of children. The children were actually their main income, as they were sent out to beg and searc waste bins for something that could partly fill a screaming stomach, suchwas life under the bridge in San Carlos City. The old Norwegian journalist got his new name here - Lolo Puti, which means white grandfather, and now used for both east and west of the city.
More to follow tomorrow..!