Udis the Great chapter 3

                                                                Udis the Great
                                                            The Autobiography of Dr. Lord
                                                   (c) Dr. Udis Sanchez Manalansan-Lord, Ph.D.
                                                                Chapter 3
                                                          Medicine in  San Pablo
            In San Pablo, there were no doctors.  There was a doctor in the nearby town of Sta. Cruz, but we were too poor to be able to afford it.
            When I was about five years old, I remember looking down the window trying to see the passersby.  It was a funeral.  Four people carried the casket, the rest of the people followed behind.
            I wanted to know what a dead person was , so I kept stretching myself looking out the window.  I  thought the people walking were the dead people.
            I remember, a man wearing an orange colored shirt. I thought he was the dead person. So I tried to have a real good look at him.  That was the last thing I remembered.
            I was told that I fell off the window and broke my neck.
            My sister carried me on her back and took me to our Aunt Sidra.
            She took some malatinta (just like ink) leaves, pounded the juice out, mixed it with wine.  She made me drink it, and she wrapped the poultice around my neck with a piece of rag.
            I was healed.
            I was told that she learned how to use the malatinta to cure broken bones by watching snakes.
            One day, she was on top of a tree and saw a farmer beat a snake.  She left the snake on the ricefield thinking that it was dead.
            Then, another snake came.  She had in her mouth a malatinta leaf which she inserted in the mouth of the beaten snake.
            The snake swallowed the malatinta and started wiggling back to the thick bush with the other snake.
            My Aunt Sidra came down from the tree and picked some of the leaves left by the snake.  She squeezed it between her fingers and the grass juice was black just like ink.  That is why she called it malatinta.
            When we have fever, my mother boiled some pineapple leaves and we drank the liquid which made the fever go away.
            When we had stomach ache, she boiled some guava leaves and made us drink it.  It cured the stomach ache.
            We did not go to the dentist nor brush our teeth with toothbrushes.  We pounded guava  branches and used  them  to scrub our teeth. 
            I was told that my ancestors  used sand from the river to scrub their teeth.
            However, when I attended the grade school, the Americans sent dentists at our school to clean our teeth.
            The Americans also sent us a battery powered radio.   Apung (Grandpa, a sign of respect) whose son died fighting the Japanese with the Americans received a pension from the Americans.  He was the only one who can afford to buy some batteries for the radio.
            They took an empty wooded  coca cola case and hammered it to top of an acacia tree to serve as the storage case for the radio.
            He provided batteries for the radio.  At least about ten  people sat on the ground looking up the acacia tree to listen to the radio as if it was God who came down to earth.
            Apung Angkong liked to go to cockfights.  He always sat underneath the acacia tree blowing smoke on the face of his rooster. Perhaps that  made the rooster a fierce fighter.
            When Apung Angkong won  the cockfight, he bought some neck bones.  His daughter Sayong boiled the neckbones. 
            They rang a bell.  Then, all the neighboring  houses sent a child with a bowl.  Each house receive a bowl of soup to be shared with the whole family. 
            The family had rice and used the soup to put a little flavor on their rice.
            Most of the time, we ate plain boiled rice sprinkled with salt. If we had soy sauce, we were very fortunate.
            Sometimes, we went to the ricefield and caught some frogs.  That was seldom.
            In spite of that, I was blessed and grew up  to be a healthy and a strong person.