As the result of a special appeal by the Grand Master Mason, a sum in excess of £63,000 was raised to support victims of the earthquake in Haiti. After consideration it was agreed that the funds be used to finance the refurbishment and expansion of a medical clinic in Northern Haiti. The cost of the work and equipment was confirmed as being £77,000 and it was agreed that a grant of £14,000 be awarded by The Grand Lodge of Scotland to augment the sum raised by Scottish Freemasons worldwide in response to the Grand Master Mason’s Appeal to the amount required to complete the project. . Our District Grand Lodge of the Bahamas agreed to monitor the work and assist with the management of the funding arrangements. It is pleasing to be able to report that the Clinic has now been completed and is providing a much needed, modern, sustainable facility, as well as many outreach services, for the local community in the Bod me Limbe region of Northern Haiti. Brethren from the District of the Bahamas have visited the Clinic and seen at first hand the facilities which have been provided.
Partnership between The Grand Lodge of Scotland and the Tzu Chi Buddhist Foundation to build a clinic in the Philippines
Representatives of the The District Grand Lodge of the Far East, The Grand Lodge of the Philippines and the Tzu Chi Buddhist Foundation signing the Memorandum of Agreement and preparing to participate in the ground breaking ceremony for the new Clinic
It was agreed that The Grand Lodge of Scotland would work in partnership with the Tzu Chi Buddhist Foundation to fund the building of a sustainable healthcare facility in Ormoc, Philippines using monies which had been raised by Scottish Freemasonry in response to the devastation which had been caused by Typhoon Haiyan. After much preparation and liaison behind the scenes by Brethren from The District Grand Lodge of the Far East and The Grand Lodge of the Philippines, the Memorandum of Agreement was signed by all parties on 24th May 2017 and the ground breaking ceremony took place the same day.
The appeal of working with the Tzu Chi Buddhist Foundation is its excellent reputation as a much respected and world renowned provider of disaster relief, coupled with the fact that the Foundation would not only supply the expertise to build the facility but also would be responsible for its future operation with all that this will entail. It was also pleasing to the Chairman and Members of the Benevolence and Care Committee that the Foundation’s ethos is to train as many local people as possible and use them to assist in the construction process and thereafter in the operation of the Clinic.
The Vice President of the Tzu Chi Foundation Philippines addressing those who will work on the construction of the Clinic. On the far right of the photograph is a member of Lodge Perla del Oriente, No 1034, who had very recently joined the Lodge and was keen to be present as his family is from the area.
Local workers preparing the ground prior to the commencement of the building work
During the first week in June, the foundations were laid and by October the steel roof trusses were being installed. Despite some challenges, everyone worked hard to ensure that excellent progress continued to be made with the building works.
The foundations being laid in June and the roof trusses being installed in October
In December, Tropical Storm Kai-Tak moved across the island of Leyte north of Ormoc resulting in torrential rain. Flooding in the area was extensive, although, thankfully, the clinic site was unaffected. However, some of the Residents nearby were evacuated and, whilst not fully completed, it was pleasing that the Clinic building was able to be used to keep those who had been required to leave their homes safe and dry.
Local Residents shelter in the Clinic during Tropical Storm Kai-Tak
Perhaps a good indication of how much the Clinic is required by the local community is the fact that services are already being provided despite the Clinic not being quite complete. In January 2018, it was used as a base to provide inoculations for children in the area.
Inoculations for local children being provided in the Clinic
This photograph taken in mid-February shows that the Clinic is now close to completion
Landscaping work being carried out by local people around the Clinic
The Clinic was completed by April 2018 and is being equipped to provide a range of healthcare services for the local Community. The Clinic was formally opened on the 14th of April 2018. Seven members of Lodge Perla del Oriente attended the ceremony which involved a 4am flight to Tacloban followed by a two and a half hour road trip to Ormoc.
Video of the formal opening of The Clinic which has been shown on various television channels around the world.
At The Great Love City the brethren were welcomed by Alfredo Li, The Vice President of the Tzu Chi Buddhist Foundation. As can be seen from the video, the sides of the roads for the last half km to the building were lined with villagers who formed a welcoming party and the village band led the procession to the clinic. Brethren were presented with flowers by local children and welcomed by the former Mayor, who had donated the land on which the whole project was built. After welcoming speeches and songs the clinic was formally opened and the plaque was unveiled. A letter from The Grand Master Mason was read and one of the Brethren gave a short address about The Grand Lodge of Scotland and its Charitable work in Tagalog, the local dialect. Thank you speeches were then given and during lunch brethren were introduced to some of the students from the village.
Those who attended the opening were impressed by the genuine gratitude of local people for the assistance provided by The Grand Lodge of Scotland in funding the clinic.
The Chairman and Members of the Benevolence and Care Committee were delighted that The Grand Lodge of Scotland had been able to be part of this inspirational project and is immensely grateful to all of those Brethren who have worked tirelessly throughout the process, firstly, to establish the meaningful partnership with the Tzu Chi Buddhist Foundation and thereafter to liaise with all parties as required to bring the project to a successful conclusion.
The story of The Clinic continues…
Ormoc City Health Department visited on the 11th of May 2018 to weigh and immunise local babies.