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KBI/Tzu Mission to Afghanistan and Cambodia

Greetings:

We spent the morning tying up loose ends here in Zamboanga before catching our afternoon flight back to Manilla.

For our first stop this morning, we visited the orphanage again. Here, we made an official presentation of our gift to the Orphanage Board of Directors to allow them to hire 5 additional care givers for one year. Members of the Armed Forces had bought another 5 cribs and an air conditioner, which were presented as well.

At this presentation, all three sections of our Zamboanga / Basilan partnership were present - the US armed forces representing the Joint US and Philippine force, Tzu Chi Foundation, and Knightsbridge International. Tzu Chi, who has already been previously working with this orphanage made plans while we were there to continue to work to assist the orphanage, as did individual members of the Army.

We then went to a retirement home. The primary residents of this home (total of 46 residents) had been abandoned, or had no family to care for them. Tzu Chi has also been working in this home, and assured the director of the home that they would continue to be there to help out and to visit with the elderly in the community.

Next on our stop was a visit to the hospital where Knightsbridge and Tzu Chi took the baby from Basilan last night, named Modesta. Her condition was visibly improved already, and the dehydration was being corrected. There was some color coming back to her lips. Tzu Chi and Knightsbridge assured the mother that there would be constant assistance from Tzu Chi, and she and Modesta would be escorted all the way through the operation and medication process. Since her pneumonia has to be cleared up first, they will go home in a few days, and return after a week or so for the operation to clear the hydrocephalus.

We arrived at our hotel in Manilla in the late afternoon, and were treated to a wonderful July 4th dinner at the home of one of our embassy friends who was instrumental, along with his wife, in making our trip come about and assisting in all of the logistics required to allow us to do our work here.

Tomorrow and Saturday, we hope to meet with the Ambassador and present our findings and recommendations. We will then continue to pursue the legal process of obtaining official certification for Knightsbridge to be a recognized NGO in the Philippines.

On Sunday, we will start making our way into Tashkent, Uzbekistan to break out our containers into trucks and get them on their way into Afghanistan.

What better way to spend the fourth of July than working to cement the relationship between the joint armed forces, Knightsbridge, and Tzu Chi to work towards a better way of life for those in the long forgotten island of Basilan.

Attached photos include:

  • 3564 - Cribs and Air Conditioner donated by individuals in the Armed Forces
  • 3566 - Anton of Tzu Chi, Zamboanga, with one of the babies in the orphanage
  • 3563 - Ed, Walt, Rick and Val
  • 3575 - Ed, Walt and the Tzu Chi gang at the Orphanage
  • 3584 - Ed making presentation to Orphanage
  • 3589 - Armed forces leading closing prayer
  • 3603 - Mother and baby Modesta at Hospital, with Ed

Thanks for your interest. A happy Independence Day to all.

Walt Ratterman, with Ed Artis, Adrian Belic, and Michael Mische
Zamboanga City, Mindanao Island, Philippines July 4, 2002

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