Thursday, March 15, 2012

Healthy Eating in Manila

As we settle into Manila life we have found great markets with wonderful fresh veggies and fruits.  Tonight's dinner is nothing fancy and satisfies our need for an American style dinner.  We served a fresh green leaf, carrot and amazing tasting cherry tomatoes, oven broiled asparagus, fresh baked, mashed potatos and sweet ham. The ham portion is small because it is sweet ham and I want to control the calories from sugar.  Food here is not cheap, though the veggies are very fresh and a thrifty choice over the aisles and aisles of canned food.

What is significant about this plate of food are the portions.  As you can see the plate is not large, remember the small corelle plates we use to eat from before the giant platter sized dinner plates became popular in the US?

This plate represents the myplate which has replaced the FDA's food pyramid none of us could remember the order or amounts.  1/2 the plate is fresh vegetables and fruit, 1/4 is protein and 1/4 is grains.  Sooo much easier than the food pyramid which none of us memorized, right?

Go to  for family friendly info or  for an adult version.

Be well!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

What do we actually DO in the Philippines?

Brad is CEO and leads an amazing international team of 4, 2 Filipinos and 2 Aussies.

One mate (Aussie), Dan is a computer tech CEO who moved his family to Manila the same month we arrived. Not only has he completely revamp the orgs finances, but his most amazing achievement is creating a whole new system for receiving our gifts in kind food packs from the US.  We serve over 1.5 million meals to the malnourished and under nourished  poor.  Dan and his staff have a  tax free avenue for receiving food and medicines into the country!  More importantly this new system fully supports the new Aquino government's corruption free system. Change is happening in the RP!

The second mate, Helen oversees all the orgs operations and is a wealth of knowledge and experience.  She  oversees the Directors of Education, Livelihood, Health (so she is my boss) and Metrics.

Ptr. Herman, Filipino, is a specialist in leadership development and mentoring. He has rolled out mentoring and training for the 3000+ partner pastors who lead  ICM community development.

Mr Louie, joined the team in January and is focused on developing funding sources in and outside of Asia.  He comes with years of fund raising expertise in the Phils.

Brad's life/work experiences, skill set and ministry/business philosophy are very well suited for ICM at this time.  He is in his element working with a high capacity, highly skilled team.  He loves his job.

As for me, what an unexpected adventure.  I am just now finishing  my Public Health Grad. Cert. (one more class this spring) and CAN NOT believe I am in the job I have.  It's more like an internship with an official  title (Dir. of Health).  I work for Helen an ER - mental health trained nurse, who is a hoot and a spitfire!  I am happy to follow her direction and she is comfortable giving me rope to hang myself :D.  Next posting I will share the 4 month Project REFRESH we are implementing in ICM Health Services.

I am nurturing the care clinic staff.  They are nurses, midwives, and volunteer docs who see up to 30 patients a day for common complaints.  What they do really well is screening for major medical cases and then case managing them through the government and private health care system  to get care.  Over the past three months over 50 cleft palate/lip patients have received restoration surgeries through the work of our staff partnering with local and international organizations.

My lack of clinical expertise is not an issue because I work with a national adviser of medicine, Dr Mindy, who oversees all the special medical cases and malnutrition children's program.  My skills and interests in Public Health, group process, coaching, time management, and online education are all being utilized.  My passion to empower and build capacity in the developing Filipino health workforce is realized.  How sa-weeet!

For those who know my son Andy, 15, I am often asked, how is Andy doing?  He is an amazing young man and doing very well.  It was an incredibly challenging fall semester for school.  In hindsight, it would have been better do 1 or 2 online classes to become familiar with the learning system.  We thought he would get into a school here and that has not happened.  It all has to do with timing.  So, he  has just started his second semester of online classes and  is optimistic once again.  He loves his new little dog, Gibson (pronounced by the national tagalog speakers with the emphasis on the "son" and sounds more like "san" think papa-san, we however call him Gibson, like the guitar :D)

It's been almost 7 months since we boarded a plane for our visit in August of which I've only been here for 4.5 month to date.  I will be here through the summer at the least, there are no formal plans for Andy or I to return to the states at this time.  Brad however has board and fundraising responsibilities in the states and will be in Chicago for a week end of March.

Our adult children are all scheduled to come this summer. Two of the boys and their girl friends will come for their college summer break and intern for ICM.  Our married kids will join us for the week of our 25 anniversary in July.  We will have them all here to celebrate on the beautiful Philippine beaches!

We love the Filipino people.  We are inspired by their passion and ability to lead change in the lives of the disenfranchised and marginalized on very limited resources.  It is an honor and privilege to be here.

I have a renewed commitment to the blog and will be posting again in a few weeks with some details and photos of  Operation REFRESH for Health Services, it is after all a wellness blog :)

Be Well