“Kagabi, hindi ako nakatulog nang maganda. Nagbangon ako agad, [naga-sungod-sungod]. Nagalabas yung [nana] kagabi! Ah, bangon ako kaagad. Hindi ako makatiis. Lagi naga-kirot.”

Translation: Last night, I didn’t sleep well. I woke up at once, because my wound hurt. The pus was coming out last night, so I sat up. I can’t bear it. It always throbs in pain.

This is Polka, a Batak elder from Barangay Langogan, suffering skin ulcers on his leg for more than a year now. It’s been keeping him unproductive, for he can’t work as hard as he used to in the forest. Everyday, the wounds burrow deeper and deeper. Having consulted a doctor and medicating with antibiotics, and then quack doctors (and taking herbal treatments after the former didn’t work), Polka has yet to know the infection’s real cause and see successful results.

Polka is like family to me and I hate seeing him in pain. So I was able to provide Betadine and bandages for temporary use, but he needs more than that. Polka is just one of the many Bataks who are severely malnourished and have little or no money to afford standard medical treatments.

This Christmas, you can help save Polka’s health with a little donation. We plan to bring him to a specialist at Puerto Princesa so he can be given proper treatment and medication, and buy him herbal supplements to aid his low-nutrient diet (he often eats only rice and salt, as quack doctors have prohibited him from eating meat, fruits and vegetables thought to aggravate itching).

Your donation and/or gifts in kind–sponsoring medical missions, medicine, vitamins, or simply spreading the word–will change Polka’s life.

To know more on how you can help, please email me (Lara) at batakcraft.ph[at]gmail.com.