How we began
My name is Nia Zalamea and I am blessed to have been born into a family that is mission driven. My parents, Renato and Norma Zalamea, both immigrated from the Philippines as nurses in 1973 and 74, respectively. As they began our small family, they continued to maintain connection with the home country. In 1998, my father first went on a solo mission trip to teach anesthesia in Guyana. As a CRNA he had many a conversation afterwards about the idea of going back to the Philippines to do similar but more service oriented work. With the help and volunteerism of friends and a particular ENT physician, John Hodges, Memphis Mission of Mercy began.
Since 1998, my parents have organized annual and sometimes biannual (slightly nuts) short-term medical and surgical missions to needy areas of the Philippines. We typically respond to areas of need via personal referrals and friends/family who are from that area. This has led us to serve small mountain towns as well as poor areas of major cities. For the past few years we have been on a journey of delayed disaster response. For example, after Typhoon Pablo, we sent immediate aid to the City of Tagum and surrounding areas and afterwards, followed up with a medical and surgical mission to the victims of that disaster.
More recently, over the past year (2016) we have as a family started on a journey with the vision of a long term mission facility. We feel we have been called to focus and settle our energies in one community of need. After extensive research, interviewing and site visits, we have chosen (or they have chosen us!) the community of Victorias, Negros Occidental. This is a community we have had the joy of getting to know over the past ten-plus years. We plan to build a surgical hospital to serve the immediate surrounding community, as well as the island communities in other parts of the region. We feel this is the best way we can offer our resources, skills, mutual learning and relationships for the community in need. Our hope is that by cultivating an environment of mutual international service and learning, we may be able to help create a sustainable way in which to serve the needs of those with challenges, such that we can then pass the facility, and its resources, on to the next generation of caregivers after we are no longer needed.
This work has always been and continues to be a labor of love and family. We are so grateful that we can share the work with my young nephews, and that our family has grown beyond measure! We invite you to join us.
At the end of the day, we feel we were placed here to take care of each other, and this is the best way that we know how.