One month and one week ago, Typhoon Haiyan slammed into the Philippine islands. Close to 200 miles per hour winds destroyed just about everything in its path.
“You feel like you have something to offer. You want to be there to help,” said Dr. Brittany Maxwell.
The Des Moines doctor is just back from seeing that destruction first hand. She spent nearly two weeks in the Philippines with the organization Remote Area Medical.
The volunteers were based in the city of Roxas. Every morning, they would load up in the back of a military truck and travel to remote communities. Maxwell said they arrived to a crowd gathered outside the church or school they set up in. The team of doctors treated people for everything from respiratory complaints to skin infections.
“They now maybe don’t have clothes or shoes and they don’t have clean water anymore and actually a lot of places we went didn’t even have electricity because the power lines were still down,” said Maxwell.
The doctors saw around 300 patients a day. Maxwell said it was exhausting work in the oppressive heat and humidity. Yet her fatigue was forgotten with a few simple words.
“They see the color of your skin and they know that you’re there helping them because the place we were at wasn’t a very touristy place so even in the streets people are saying ‘Thank you, thank you,’” recalled Maxwell.
It’s an experience she won’t soon forget.
“It humbles you and it makes you realize how lucky you are and how fortunate we are in the United States,” Maxwell said.
Dr. Maxwell is looking to send supplies to the communities she helped in the Philippines. You can donate everything from clothes to shoes and even toothbrushes. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information on Remote Area Medical or how to help those in the Philippines, visit the RAM website here.