The Gualan Nutrition Center is a happy place where one will observe many young children playing, laughing and growing stronger every day. This is home to approximately 30 children who have been found severely malnourished in outside villages and brought to the center. HIM works to restore the physical and emotional health of each child by providing food and medical care so that they can be returned to their families. This is a very special place and the love and commitment to the children is profound.
We began our journey October 2004, when we were invited to do a free general medical clinic in the Gualan Health Department for the surrounding mountainous communities. After seeing nearly 300 people, we were getting ready to close the doors for the day when a young father walked in with his wife. He was carrying his daughter, Hilda, who was too weak to walk. The entire team stood shocked as they un-wrapped their daughter.
She was a living skeleton, thirteen years old weighing in at twenty-three pounds. When I asked her parents why they had waited so long to get help for their daughter, why they had not gone by bus to the hospital 2 ½ hours away, they looked at me as if I had two heads. That ride they explained would have cost them $2.75. They had eight other children who would go without food if they spent that money on one child. They came to see us because it was a free clinic. I decided that day that Gualan needed much more help and we desperately needed to start with a Nutrition Center.