The Philippine people have an interesting tradition. It order for a boy to become a man, he must be circumcised.
The word for “circumcision” in the Cebuano language is “Tuli.” And all last week our team went from village to village and house to house asking the families if they had any “pisuits” (uncircumcised boys) that we could perform “tuli” on.
I am considering going into the medical field of surgery so I was extremely excited that the rural health-care team I am part of this summer has the opportunity to do this minor surgery. However none of the teams could get any of the families to say for sure that they would show up, so when we walked into the clinic that morning I was definitely worried that no one would be there. But I had nothing to worry about, there were over 20 boys, ages 7 to 13, waiting for us to get started.
Our supervisor, Cuya(brother) Bong, got the instruments ready and performed the first surgery to show us how it was done. Then he turned it over to us and our translators and we set up four more stations where we worked in teams of three to perform these surgeries.
Alas, I spent the first hour and a half sitting in a chair on the other side of the clinic trying to calm my body. Something about about the heat and the fact that we were cutting on little boy’s genitals just didn’t settle well with my stomach. I was totally fine with it in my mind, but every time I would watch the surgery for more than a few minutes, I would get dizzy an have to sit down.
Which I found very strange since I have scrubbed in on over a dozen major surgeries before.
I final reached the point where I was simply sick of being sick. So I sat there, with my head on my knees and prayed. I prayed that Father would calm my stomach and that I would be given the strength to do what had to be done. So I put on a face mask, scrubbed in, cleaned the penis, injected the lido-cane just like I had watched Cuya Bong do it made the incision, sutured the sides back together and dressed it up.
Now I probably lost at least a liter of sweat in the process. But hey, it sure beats the way the Philippinos used to do it. Before modern medicine made its way into the rural areas of the Philippines. The standard procedure went something like this; Chew up guava leaves (natural antiseptic), spit them on the penis. Find a machete and a nice flat rock and……. I’ll leave the rest to your imagination. Needless to say, it is not a pretty or safe procedure… So that is why we are here.
The village that we just moved into has an abundance of little boys. I already have a list with over 25 kids who want to be circumcised. So my teammates and I are going to be pros by the time the summer is over. That is just a given.
Pray that we would be able to effectively and safely minster to the children in this village. Pray that we would not only meet their physical needs, but that God would also use these minor surgeries as a way to share the good news.
Ok, I just spent the last hour trying to upload just a few pictures… I wish it was possible, but the internet here is simply to slow.