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STL’s Second Country: The Philippines

May 6-9, 2014, Manila, Philippines

In May, STL entered into uncharted territory for only the second time since our missions began in 2012. A developed country like Taiwan gave us a safe environment to learn and gain experience. However, it took a giant leap of faith for us to venture out to the Philippines.

Our mission in this new country took place in Bagong Barrio, a neighborhood known for poverty, crime, drugs, and prostitution. It is the second most dangerous area in Metro Manila due to gang violence. The optometric work took place over two days at the Our Lady of Lujan Quasi Parish, run by the IVE (Institute of the Incarnate Word). Approximately 25 Filipino volunteers (consisting of 1-2 ODs from the Philippine College of Optometrists, 2 faculty ODs from Centro Escolar University, 5 practicing ODs, and 18 5th year optometry students) examined the patients and the 4 ODs from the US acted as attending doctors. We had the help of 7 parish volunteers with registration and directing traffic. We examined 453 patients and prescribed 268 glasses.

A nun walking in an alleyway in the Philippines.