An education is a valued resource for these students, and it is an opportunity that many Cambodians do not get because of poverty. It was an honor to take a small part in this life changing opportunity for these people.
We heard their stories full of unimaginable hardships, including tragic deaths of family members and even near-death experiences for themselves. Through all the oppression that these people have faced they have pushed forward; they continue to work hard everyday to provide for themselves and their families.
On Tuesday we toured Sihanouk Hospital Center of HOPE and were able to shadow/work with some of the nurses in the different wards. Sihanouk Hospital Center of HOPE consists of a non-profit, educational hospital, which is funded by a for profit, income-based clinic and donors. This hospital not only provides much needed care for the poor, but it is also known for its education and training of Cambodian health care professionals. Sihanouk has created sustainability because of the quality care that the hospital provides and because the hospital has been able to expand by developing educated health care professionals.
The temples at Angkor Wat were a reminder of the strength of Cambodia. Even though there has been destruction of the temples, they have survived. The temples represent the marvel in Cambodia that Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge could not destroy. The temples were also a reminder that there is restoration in store for the people of Cambodia.
After it was all said and done, I think our entire team would agree that we felt like we were trying to fill an ocean with an eye dropper. The people that we saw at these clinics had many more health care needs than we could possibly take care of with our mobile clinic. These people need clean water, better housing, and long term health care. Yes, the health care, physical therapy, medications, and education that our team provided does benefit these people, but our eyedropper only made a small puddle in their lives.
As a group we visited the World Mate Emergency Hospital in Battambang. This hospital is doing incredible things, with a quarter of the resources that we have in the United States. The patient population of this hospital consists of men, women, and children that have been victims of severe, and some times life threatening injuries. The most common injury that our group observed at this hospital was motor vehicle accidents, including motos. This is no surprise since Cambodia does not have any traffic laws, or helmet laws.
As human beings we must always seek to see one another as valued individuals. Diversity is a gift. We can, and should learn to value differences. By following these three steps in your own life, you can grow and become more connected to the differences and needs of those surrounding you.
As we traveled through the country of Cambodia we sang worship songs; it was incredible to me that 9 American girls and 2 Cambodian men knew almost all of the same worship songs. We all come from different backgrounds, histories, and families but we were all in the same place, worshiping the same God together.
Once I stepped off of the plane and into the gate entrance leading into the airport, I was greeted with the warm, muggy air. Once our group had made it through customs, gathered our luggage, and headed outside to meet our bus drivers the fiery heat hit us like a brick wall. Even though the heat will take some getting use to, I am overjoyed to finally be in Cambodia.
I will be traveling with a group from Belmont University; this group includes professionals and students of pharmacy, physical therapy, and nursing. We will be traveling to many locations in Cambodia (Phnom Penh, Battambang, & Siem Reap). We will be taking part in nurse education and patient care in the hospital, clinic, and home visit settings.