Tzu Chi USA held a free medical clinic at Golden Valley High School, in Bakersfield, California, on May 15, serving 49 patients. Luo Shu-li
The United States
On May 15, Tzu Chi USA held a free medical clinic at Golden Valley High School, in Bakersfield, California, providing treatment in Western medicine, Chinese medicine, and dentistry. Many residents in Bakersfield are farm workers with low incomes. Volunteers in 1996 started providing healthcare services once every three months in the district.
May 15 was the first time in two years Tzu Chi had held a free clinic in Bakersfield. This regular event was forced to a temporary stop by the global pandemic in 2020. Though they couldn’t hold a physical event during the last two years, volunteers continued providing medical consultations via telephone, as many patients suffer from chronic illnesses and need to stay on medications. Volunteers learned about these patients’ conditions on the phone, then arranged for medicine to be mailed to their homes.
Jorge Alvarez, a regular at the clinic, was one of the patients who came to the May 15 event. He has no medical insurance and had been coming to the event for about five years when the pandemic hit. “When I was running out of my medicine,” he said, “I received a phone call from a Tzu Chi volunteer, and my worries about having no medicine to take were put to rest.” He had a telephone consultation with a doctor every three months, after which he’d receive his medicine.
Lorena Sánchez was a first-timer at the clinic. She had been bothered by a toothache for two years. At the event on May 15, she received dental treatment and also some medicine. “The doctor treated me with a lot of care,” she said. “I’m grateful for everything. Tzu Chi has helped me a lot.”
Paulina Ramirez is a local volunteer and also a patient at the clinic. She said that people with dental or other health issues would often ask her during the pandemic when Tzu Chi would restart the clinic. Now that the team was back, she said with a smile: “I’ve missed you all so much. Everyone is thankful you are back.”
The clinic served 49 patients. Fifteen medical professionals, including doctors, nurses, and pharmacists, and 50 support volunteers together made for a successful event.
Volunteers unload rice to be distributed to fire survivors in Quezon City, the Philippines. Daniel Lazar
A fire broke out in a crowded settlement on the sprawling campus of the University of the Philippines, Quezon City, on May 2. Eight people were killed, including six children. More than a hundred families were made homeless.
Tzu Chi volunteers visited the disaster scene in the immediate aftermath to assess the conditions and extend care to survivors. They also checked with the local government and relief agencies to appraise the needs of the affected families, hoping to provide aid that would most benefit the households. On May 5, volunteers held a distribution for 92 families, giving out a variety of items including gas stoves, casserole dishes, rice, cooking oil, condiments, blankets, soap, masks, disinfectant alcohol, and other goods.
Julie Valisno, one of the victims, said during the distribution: “I cried for our misfortune every night, but I told myself I had to be strong for my family. Thanks to Tzu Chi for addressing our pressing needs. The items you gave us, such as the cooking equipment, will come in really handy. Many people donated goods to us. We are very lucky.”
Jocelyn Madrigal, another survivor, told volunteers that her husband was among the thousands of jeepney drivers who had received aid from Tzu Chi during the COVID-19 pandemic. Their family received rice and other necessities from the foundation three times. “We’ll never forget the help you have given us,” said Madrigal. “Wherever there is a disaster, you go there to help. My immense gratitude goes to all Tzu Chi volunteers.”
A volunteer helps students at Madrasah Ibtidaiyah Babul Huda, in Jombang, East Java, try out a notebook computer. Tzu Chi donated 12 computers to the school on April 26. Diyang Yoga Wicaksana
On April 26, Tzu Chi volunteers in Surabaya donated 12 notebook computers to Madrasah Ibtidaiyah Babul Huda, an elementary school in Jombang, East Java.
Indonesia’s Ministry of Education and Culture rolled out computer-based national exams a few years ago. This posed a challenge to the elementary school, which didn’t have any computers. School administrators coped by renting laptop computers for students to use during the exams. After learning about the tight spot the school was in, Tzu Chi decided to help.
Students broke into happy smiles when they received the gifts from Tzu Chi. They used to be able to use a computer only during the exams; now they will have the computers to use even on regular days.
Sixth-grader Saffar Nuraini said, “I used a cell phone last year for the national tests, and I even had to take turns using it with others. I’m happy and grateful for these computers.”