Oh, the downside of urban life!
In the away (rural areas), everybody is usually aware of the developments, no matter how trivial, in their neighbors’ lives. The same could not be said of our neighborhood in the Laoag City poblacion.
I did not know that Manong Gerry Lagasca, a neighbor since birth, has long moved to Canada until he visited my blog and sent me an email recently.
In the course of our online correspondence, he mentioned about a noteworthy project our kariknas there are undertaking. A group of Laoag City-born Canadians now residing in Toronto, Ontario has launched a campaign to raise funds for the Provincial Hospital and the Laoag City General Hospital.
The group started planning their activities in early 2008, but went high-gear when they received a video from Mayor Michael Farinas appealing for support for the health care system of the city. The video was first shown to the group’s supporters during their first dinner-and-dance party last September.
Owing to the dearth of facilities in these two hospitals and the forbidding costs of medical treatment, many Laoagueños, specifically those who are financially hard-up, are deprived of quality health care. And so, through their efforts, our kariknas wish to be able to help bridge the gap between the haves (who can afford medical attention whenever and wherever) and the haves-not.
Leading this fund-raiser are Melanie Baracao Howell, Gemma (Bong) Sipin, and Maritess Abara Jose. Priscilla Respicio Santos assists the group in various capacities.
The group concedes that they cannot do things on their own and so they count on the support of other Canadian residents who originated from Laoag City, or anybody who feels it appropriate to help. The group foresees the long stretch they would have to go through, but they hope that their efforts will bear fruit.
In addition to the dinner-and-dance party last fall, they also went caroling last Christmas. This year, they are set to hold a summer sports fest and frolic, a dance paty, and more.
“We may have left for better opportunities,” writes Manong Gerry, “but we always remember, care for, and love our fellow Laoagueños back home.”