Super Typhoon

The super typhoon didn’t directly hit Cebu City, instead its eye passed over the North of Cebu island. While I am thankful for it not hitting us directly, my heart goes out to those that were affected: many are without shelter in Cebu City, those in the North of Cebu are worse, the earthquake victims in Bohol haven’t had shelter since Oct 15 - only tents, and the islands of Leyte and Samar who were the first landfall points for the storm saw the massive, unrestrained force of a category 5 storm. There isn’t a lot of information at the moment as power and telco lines are down and/or overwhelmed. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers and directly donate to relief organizations. On a side note: Glory Reborn was a small shelter yesterday with many families in the neighborhood coming in for safety as the storm hit. We will continue to assist those in surrounding communities and islands as we recover from the series of natural disasters, if you feel inclined to help us, you can donate at https://gloryreborn.org

The Choice of Life

The choice of life

My phone rings. Its Hilary. I answer it, Hey hun, whats up?

“David, how much money do we have in the bank?” she says frantically.

“I dont know off hand, Ill have to checkWhy?” I reply, slightly nervous about what my wife has planned to spend our money on.

She blurts out I hate the public hospital! Do you remember that patient that we referred to them on the 6th? Yes. I say, just to keep the conversation going. Well do you know what they did? They sent her home! She needs to be induced or her baby is going to die! I am silent, so she continues. She came back to the clinic, we checked the heart beat and we sent her back to the public hospital. Again she was not accepted. She then went to the second public hospital. They sent her with a note back to the first public hospital. Doc was informed that we were sending her back again as she is out of our scope and requires hospital care, and do you know what they did?

I know the answer already, this is not a new situation for us to be in, but to keep the flow moving, I reply No, what? She yells They sent her back to us again! Three times they have sent her back! Almost two weeks past her due date with a terrible fetal heart beat and no signs of labor. They said they cant do anything because the baby is fine, she is not in labor and they are full. They told the patient that if she wants to be induced we should take her to a private hospital instead! I reply Thats terrible.

On September 12th, 6 days after the patient was originally referred to the hospital, the patient came back to the clinic in tears, worried about her baby. The babys vital signs were troublesome on the 6th, and now they are much worse. Immediate action has to be taken or this baby will die. Even if we do take action, there is a chance that the baby will still not make it.

“David, the baby will die if we dont do something. Can we afford to put her in the private hospital?”

Life is filled with choices. I make choices everyday. I choose what shirt to wear with what pants (Im colorblind so this choice can be dreadful at times). I choose if I have time for breakfast or if I can only afford the time to grab a granola bar and run out the door. I choose what projects I will work on: will I focus on my startup or will I focus on our charity. I also make choices about peoples lives. Not just their lives as in this will effect them. I mean that I choose if they will live or die. Ive been choosing these type of things for 10 years now. I thought it would get easier over time, or maybe I wouldnt have to face these choices anymore it hasnt gotten easier and I am still choosing.

“Do what you need to do.” “Yes, lets save a life today!” “Do we really have a choice? Admit the patient.” “Okay, Ill figure out a way to cover it.” “We really dont have any budget right now.” “I am sorry but we cant right now, we dont have the money.” these are some of my answers to this question throughout the years. These choices are etched into my memory, and I can recall all of the situations and most especially the outcomes that we lost. I said yes to baby James, but in spite of that we lost him. I said no to one young boy and then yes a few days later when we had funds and we lost him. I said yes to sweet baby Hannah and we lost her a few days later. In an ideal situation we would save them all, and hopefully no one would have to make the hard choice, rather the obvious choice that every one deserves the chance of life.

I took a deep breath, knowing full well the balance of Glory Reborns bank accounts wouldnt cover all of the next months operating costs and this procedure. In a hurried exhale as if I didnt get it out quickly I would change my mind I stated: Yes, just do it. Hilary hung up the phone, forgetting to even say bye as she was in the Save A Life Zone. I stared blankly at the pixels on my phones screen wondering about these choices of life.

A couple of hours later I called Hilary to check on the outcome. The mom had to undergo an emergency C-Section and the babys vitals were not well, so he was admitting into the Neonatal ICU. I would be lying if I said that this news didnt make my stomach drop as I worried about how much this was going to cost, but how can I put a cost on the value of a life? What if it were my wife and baby in this situation and their lives depending on someone making a similar choice?

I hope that everyone faced with this choice would choose life. Both the mom and baby are doing well as of today September 13th. We hope that this amazing baby boy will be out of NICU tonight and that they will be discharged from the hospital in a few days. During the C-Section we found out that the baby had 3 tight cord coils around his leg and very minimal fluid inside the water bag. These were the factors causing the problems with the heartbeat that we saw on the monitor days before. In this case, I made a choice in spite of the resources. The family has raised around $400 to cover some of the cost, which is truly amazing! By donating to this situation, even small amounts, you will make a difference! And Id ask if you could choose to save a life with us today?

If you feel inclined to donate to Glory Reborn (a 501(c)(3) non-profit), you can do so here: https://symph.wufoo.com/forms/donate-to-glory-reborn/

Generally Speaking

I was recently asked to infer my knowledge of a specific situation into a general topic. It made me think about generalization, you know generally speaking.

Generalizations are generally good, but they are never great. Details and specifics are so valuable to understanding and specifically in a startup, it’s the details that we should be paying attention too.

I’ve also noticed that it is easy to give general advice (or criticism), but being more specific in our advice (or criticism) takes an investment. Time must be invested to be able to clearly give specific input.

I value this type of input more than generalizations, and I am going to do my best to give feedback that is as specific as possible.

Difference between Startup Weekend and a Startup - StartupJuncture

Difference between Startup Weekend and a Startup - StartupJuncture

Dan Fennessy explaining the difference between the experiences at Startup Weekend Amsterdam and launching an actual startup (Party with a local).

I really think Startup Weekend is a great event, it’s like a crash course on startups. At the end of the event, the teams have an opportunity to continue on with their products. Some do. Some don’t.

I think the relationship analogy used for theTeam section is brilliant:

A Startup Weekend team is like a one night stand- youre together for a short time, its intense, rushed, at times clumsy, its usually alcohol-fueled,you dont get much sleep and you may or may not ever see them again.

A real startup team is more like a marriageyou meet (often introduced by a friend), you date for a while, see how you click and work together, if it starts to go well and things are getting serious, then its time to formalise the relationship.

I highly recommend that if you are interested or intrigued by startups you join a Startup Weekend, it is still one of the best ways to get to know startups and know that there will be some similarities and differences between the weekend and Monday morning.

Things that three year olds shouldn't know

Three year olds should not know what starvation feels like. Three year olds should not know how it feels to sleep on the streets. Three year olds should not know how to sift through garbage in a dump site. Three year olds should not know what scabies is. Three year olds should not know what it means to be raped or murdered.

There are certain things in this world that we have a responsibility for, one such thing is children. Last night, on an outreach to a community living at the margins of society (a.k.a. living in poverty) we learned of some truly tragic situations. A three year old had been raped. A three year old had been murdered. We did as much as we could for the families involved and gave what seemed like futile condolences. With heavy hearts we continued to walk through the streets this community calls home and found another three year old. This situation was a three year old girl living with scabies - she was covered from head to foot. Her grandmother, who tries to care for her, wasat a loss on what to do, so the child has just lived with this. We aren’t even sure how long these rashes have tormented this poor child.

After providing them with some basic salve and ointment, which was all we had with us, we left the area and Hilary and I decided that we needed to do something more. We called friends who run an orphanage to look into the rape situation, as the child was under the care of the Social Welfare Department. We knew that we could also help the little one with the rash, so we returned to the area Saturday afternoon and walked to where this grandmother told us she lived. We found a small community of makeshift shelters - pieces of trash, tires and cardboard held together by hopes, ropes and prayers.

One of our Glory Reborn team members was with us and we talked with the neighbors as our grandmother and three year old were not there. We learned that she would be back later, so we left for a meeting we had to attend, and our team member, Katrina, vowed to return later with more of the team to find this grandmother and bring them to the clinic where we could treat the child.

Our team returned later, and the grandmother agreed to go to the clinic. Katrina immediately fell in love with the child and despite the rash, she carried the little one back to the car. Our team at the clinic responded in their usual amazing way and sprung into action - they found clothes and toys for her and began to prepare the treatment. Hilary and I stopped by the grocery and department store to pick up food and supplies to care for her with. We knew that due to the severity of the rash, the treatment will take time, so we asked if the grandmother would leave the child with us until Monday. This way we could get her treatment started and keep her out of the environment in which she contracted this. The grandmother agreed and just as she was leaving the clinic, a woman in labor walked into the clinic. Hilary glanced at me, a glance I have seen before and have come to love, the “You have to do something about this now, David” glance. I said, “Lets take her to the house, she can stay with us.”

For the past 24 hours, I have been blessed to know and care for a marvelous three year old. A three year old, who at the onset did not say a word, yet while in the car ride home, she opened her arms for me to hold her when Hilary was getting out. She screams when we bathe her from the pain of her rash and we do our best to comfort her. Today, on a short walk, we held her hands, and when I let go, she kept her hand extended just waiting for mine to return. She still has not said much, though there was a little singing. Today, as I walked in, she smiled. It melted my heart and I realized that I have so much to be thankful for.

There are things three year olds should not know or have to live through. It is our responsibility to care for them and to do something to change that. We each have the capacity to do that.