Tzu Chi’s heart is filled with greatest love that when it comes to giving aid, it does not mind the race and the religion. As a matter of fact, Tzu Chi Foundation Bohol had conducted its Dental and Medical Mission to the tribe of “Ati’s” at Botoc Occidental, Loay, Bohol on January 29, 2020.

Pastor Henry Pauden, the only son of the tribe’s chieftain (insert name) claimed that their tribe came from Ilo-Ilo, and was truly uncivilized before.

“I am Henry Pauden, from Boto Occidental. We (Ati’s Tribe) came from Ilo-Ilo and was considered as an Ilonggo tribe. Our life before when we are not yet civilized, we are comfortable with staying and building a life at a remote field.”

As days passed by, their growth and understanding towards socializing is different from before, the moment they were exposed to education by the missionaries who paid them off a visit.

“And then there’s a time wherein the missionaries came to us and encouraged the tribe to go to school and clean the body. Before, our tribes believe that it is good already for a person to eat twice or thrice a day. But now, an educated person is better.” He said

The tribe had landed to Bohol at 1997, and decided to stay since discrimination for other native race was never felt by the tribe. However, their stay at Bohol was not an easy journey.

“Way back in 1997 up until 2018, we keep on transferring from one place to another. We hop from one barangay (of Loay) to another since the owner wants to use the place we are living at. We had made nipa huts five times already.” He narrated.

Due to this situation, the children have no access in proper education and the tribe has no access in proper health, as well.

This inspires the Tzu Chi Foundation Bohol to reach out to the tribe and made them feel they are loved. The Foundation had given one sack of Taiwan rice to every family in the tribe, pair of slippers, Happee toothpaste, toothbrush and school supplies for the children, and a sack of clothes for the whole tribe.

Aside from that, Tzu Chi Foundation Bohol had conducted its dental and medical mission to the tribe. Over all, there are 5 dentists from the different organization (TIMA, PHO and BPDA), and 4 dental aid that had catered 12 heads for Opthadept, 39 heads for cleaning, 18 heads for exo, and 36 heads for medical.

Ej Chalfea Duwabe, one of the tribe children who availed for free teeth cleaning, was very happy and had seen the importance of having clean and healthy teeth.

“I shake during the cleaning (because I’m nervous) but I am very happy because my teeth were cleaned. We need to have clean teeth so we can smile happily. Thank you Tzu Chi Foundation because my teeth were finally cleaned and healthy. Thank you also to the doctors.” Ej said happily.

The activity wouldn’t be successful without the dedicated dentists who rendered their time just to serve freely to the members of the tribe. One of these is the (BDA) Bohol Dentist Association Bohol Central Chapter. She and her partner gave a free lecture to the tribe about having healthy teeth, and how to take good care of it.

“I am Mary Angelie Cabagnot, President of BDA Bohol Central Chapter and we’re here in the Ati Tribe of Loay in order to campaign about the awareness on how to have and maintain healthy clean teeth. It is very important because first of all, healthy teeth are what we used in eating. Second, we can pronounce and talk properly. Third, it can make us look presentable. Lastly, our temporary teeth (baby teeth) will be a guide for our permanent teeth.” Doc Angelie said.

“This is how important our teeth were and we should take care of it so we will not suffer from the pain of tooth decay. Tooth decay is a kind of disorder which will be prevented if we just have to brush it two times a day.” She added.

With the Tzu Chi’s compassion being shown to the tribe, Vilma Pauden, the chieftain, expressed her warmest gratitude to the foundation.

“Last (January) 25, the foundation went in our place and had given us things that our children can use, like notebooks and clothes for us to use, slippers and sack of rice—all of these were very useful since we only have limited resources for our food and clothing.” The chieftain said happily.

“We’re truly happy because our tribe was joined during the Medical Mission of Tzu Chi Foundation. Through this, our health was checked and was given proper action—our children undergone tooth extraction for their damaged tooth. We cannot afford paying for that operation, that’s why because of this medical mission, we are really thankful to Tzu Chi.” She added.

The dental and medical mission brought not only joy but a great foundation of love to the tribe. This activity gave way for the Tzu Chi Foundation to spread the great seeds of love to the tribe living peacefully in Loay.