Written by Chang-Bin Huang Photographed by Chang-Guang Peng
Translated by Mindy Chen Proofread by Agness Tsao
Dr. Guo-Liang Chiu from Chest Department of Taichung Tzu Chi Hospital, host the group seminar and shared his experience in participating in the overseas free clinic services.
On the afternoon of October 3, the group seminar for Internal medicine was held in Room 220 at 3:30 pm. The seminar was host by Dr. Guo-Liang Chiu from Taichung Tzu Chi Hospital. Over 30 medical personnel coming from Malaysia, Myanmar and Holland attended the seminar to share experience with each other.
First, Dr. Chiu introduced the architecture of Taichung Tzu Chi Hospital and its green design for environment protection and energy saving. He expressed that there are solar panels on the roof of the hospital; besides, the balcony is moved inward and an atrium garden is available for patients and their family members to take a walk. Afterwards, Dr. Chiu invited attendees to share their experience. All of them responded with enthusiasm.
Experience Sharing about Free Clinic Services in Different Countries
Brother Wen-Fang Cai, from central part of Taiwan, was the first to share experience. He stated that TIMA members of the central Taiwan mainly provide services to the underprivileged people in the mountain areas including Zhuolan and Nanzhuang in Miaoli and Xinshe in Taichung.
Brother Cai expressed that a few days ago, they just collaborated with Association for Victims Support to visit the disabled victims. Besides presenting medical devices like the bath bed, they also treated wounds and bedsore for the victims. They also went to nursing homes to care about the underprivileged children who have cerebral palsy or are disabled.
Brother Cai mentioned that his heart was caught by the song’s lyric “Time goes on and on; life is short and full of suffering” when he watched the physicians’ drum-bell performance to portray the Twelve Great Vows of the Medicine Buddha; the tears rolled down his face at that moment. He felt that TIMA members seem to be his dear partners; they took an oath to help with suffering people 2500 years ago. Without great compassion and strength, they are able to keep the promise life after life. The oath made 2500 years ago is like the spiritual appointment; because of it, they will get together to give themselves to others life after life.
Brother Wen-Fang Cai stated that TIMA members of the central Taiwan mainly provide services to the underprivileged people in the mountain areas including Zhuolan and Nanzhuang in Miaoli and Xinshe in Taichung.
Brother Ji-Min Chen is from Malaysia. He stated that the free clinic services in Malaysia are quite similar to those in Taiwan. They also focus on providing medical services to the community. At present, there are more than 50 Tzu Chi caring families. They, together with more volunteers, will continue to carry out the medical services for people in need; besides, they will also collaborate with medical groups in communities.
Brother Ji-Min Chen from Malaysia stated that they are promoting the physical checkup for volunteers. Because they found half a Tzu Chi volunteers overlooked their health.
Brother Yu-Zhuang Lin also shared his experience. He stated that it took him 30 hours to arrive Taiwan from Brazil by airplane. The audience gave him a big round of applause immediately after hearing that.
Brother Lin continued, “In São Paulo, Brazil, there is a clinic center in Tzu Chi Contact Office. Every Saturday free clinic will be given. Besides, they will offer free clinic services in different areas every month. The medical services include medical fields of General Medicine, Cardiology, Gynecology and Obstetrics and Pediatrics. In the remote area, they offer free medical services like dental care, Chinese medical acupuncture, and the free haircut service.
Because many patients usually come to wait for the free medical services in the early morning, the culinary volunteers also prepare healthy foods for them. Brother Lin said, “Brazil is a developing country. Through the free clinic services, we make good relationship with local people. In the future, we will also provide free medicine and glasses to the poor patients and people in need. The local people are very happy whenever they know Tzu Chi is going there to offer the free clinic services. We also must come back to Taiwan to learn precious experience.”
Brother Yu-Zhuang Lin (left) expressed that “In São Paulo, Brazil, there is a clinic center in Tzu Chi Contact Office. Every Saturday free clinic will be given. Besides, they will offer free clinic services in different areas every month.”
Brother Qing-Fa Chen from Myanmar also shared his story, “After I graduated from Medical School, it happened to be the military ear. Therefore, I haven’t been a physician for over 20 years. In the era, many physicians become a businessman. A friend’s elder brother introduced Tzu Chi to me; he told me that it’s quite strange that I didn’t treat any patient after graduating from Medical School; he suggested that I joined Tzu Chi to give free medical services. The first time, I, together with other Tzu Chi TIMA members, went to a school with 3000 students to give free clinic services. I treated 150 school children that day. The next time, there were more school children coming for medical services. I felt fortunate to be able to help patients with Tzu Chi TIMA members after my graduation.”
Brother Qing-Fa Chen from Myanmar stated that after he graduated from Medical School, because it happened to be the military ear, he hasn’t been a physician for over 20 years. He feels grateful that he still can help Tzu Chi and patients as a physician.
Brother Jun Wang from Shenzhen, China, stated, “I serve in Hematology Department. I came across with Tzu Chi in 2004. After practicing medicine for years, I indeed feel that patients are my teachers. Perhaps, many young physicians still cannot have the same feeling as I do. Patients entrust doctors with their lives. Such a trust cannot be bought with money. We, medical personnel, cannot truly feel patients’ suffering came from physical body, mind, pressure, family and society. During this Convention, many physicians including me, we were inspired by all diligent TIMA members from here and there and would like to learn from all of you.”
Brother Jun Wang from Shenzhen, China, stated that after practicing medicine for years, he indeed feels that patients are his teachers.
Sister Cai-Luan Lan is from Holland. She shared her story, “I was born in Hualian, and moved to Holland, after getting married at the age of 25. This year, on January 1, I met a Tzu Chi Sister on the train heading for Holland. She introduced Tzu Chi’s history to me, which interested me a lot. Afterwards, I attended the Tzu Chi training program.
Tzu Chi Contact Offices are usually located in the Chinese circle. I made a wish to introduce Tzu Chi to the society of Holland by holding a music concert. The concert was quite successful and raised a lot of charity fund donated by Dutch. I remitted the donation back to Tzu Chi in Taiwan.
Holland is a developed country. A very good medical system has been established in Holland; therefore, people do not need free clinic services. Through the policy of family medicine, patients must visit their family doctors first in the community. So there are close relationship between family doctors and patients. Although it has been a short period of time ever since I joined Tzu Chi, with other Tzu Chi TIMA members, I wish to promote Tzu Chi in local areas through offering medical lectures in the future.”
Sister Cai-Luan Lan is from Holland expressed that she wishes to introduce Tzu Chi’s charity mission to people in Holland through holding medical lectures.
A Bunch of Flowers: Love in the Disaster Area
Before the conclusion of the group seminar, Dr. Guo-Liang Chiu shared his stories about participating in the disaster relief activity in Nepal. His topic is “Love in the Disaster Area.” Dr. Chiu has been participated in the overseas free clinic services in the year of 2013 and 2015 because of Typhoon Haiyan in Philippines and the big earthquake in Nepal.
Dr. Chiu expressed his feelings through the quote from Laozi’s Tao De Ching: “When the Great Way ceased to be observed, benevolence and righteousness came into vogue.” He showed the horrible ruins through pictures took in the disaster areas. He said that the nature is fighting back with such a big power that human beings cannot get away from it. He said, “You can witness compassionate and great love in the disaster area.”
Brother Chiu stated that Tzu Chi sent materials weighing over 1,400 kg in total to the disaster area immediately after the big earthquake in Nepal and supported the international disaster relief. It was quite difficult to get there at that time. We flew to Hong Kong, then transferred to Bengal and then transferred to Nepal. Brother Chiu showed the pictures took before and after the big earthquake in Nepal. The country’s beautiful scenery disappeared after the earthquake and instead, it was the ruins and frightened living beings appeared on the land here and there. Viewing the frightening scenery through pictures shown, attendees’ eyes almost popped out of their heads.
The Buddha’s birthday came when Dr. Chiu was in Nepal for carrying out the third free clinic services. The Buddha was born in Nepal. He said,” Near 80 percent of Indians are Hindus. But Tzu Chi still held the ceremony to pay respect to the Buddha and bless the local people. The local monks also attended the ceremony and blessed their country Nepal. Many local youths receiving Tzu Chi’s help also volunteered to help with the ceremony.”
At last, Dr. Chiu sobbed and said that at the night before they were leaving Nepal after completing the third free clinic services, because of a thunderstorm and strong wind, many tents collapsed. The next day, when they checked tents for damage, they amazingly found that many victims’ tents collapsed but Tzu Chi’s tents didn’t. “What happened?” They found out the answer at last: during the night, several local victims came to help fix Tzu Chi’s tent nails to prevent the tents from collapsing because they thought that Tzu Chi was their supporter, Tzu Chi’s blue tents had to stand steady throughout the night!
It was a bunch of flowers from a little girl that moved Dr. Chiu so much that the tears ran down his cheeks. He said, “When I am busy with packing my luggage, someone pulls my pants. I turn around and find an eleven-year-old girl who holds a bunch of flowers. She tells me that the flowers picked in the camp area are the only gift that she can give me. “Why do you give flowers to me?” I ask. “Because you come to help us from a faraway place, I have nothing but the flowers to give you for my deep appreciation.” The attendees gave Dr. Chiu a big round of applause.
Dr. Chiu emphasized that giving oneself without expectations in return is a kind of emotional communication between people. Such a touching feeling will last for life and become a strong strength to move Tzu Chi members including me to keep going on the charity mission. The love in return will be passed down as well.
Dr. Chiu sees suffering and recognizes blessings. In Nepal, the Buddha’s birthplace, he felt that it is indeed a blessing to live in Taiwan. He said, “When I think about the Jing Si aphorism “Eliminate suffering and bring forth joy,” I realize that it’s not Tzu Chi members that bring joy to the victims; instead, it’s the victims that give joy to us. It’s their love that makes Tzu Chi members keep going on and on.