I just want to take a moment and say that the medical and dental students who served as our translators for the first week were truly amazing. They each took time out of their crazily busy schedules, caught a long bus ride to Siem Reap, and worked so heard and so enthusiastically for the entire week. Many were preparing for intense final exams, which sometimes last for an entire week. Everyone speaks English, their native Khmer language, and others speak a third or even a fourth language! Our entire team was so blessed to have them with us, because without their help, we could accomplish nothing. I mean, absolutely nothing. Every single medical or dental student is my hero. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Mmmkay … here’s a bit from my journal:
Today was our last day at this city/town (forgot the name of it). We ate our now-default breakfast of two eggs (over-easy), bacon, sausage, two mini baguettes, and orange juice (tastes like Tang) and black coffee (no sugar or cream). Our translators had already left to help set up. (They’re awesome!)
Most of the equipment was still left up and the training from the previous day allowed us to begin seeing patients fairly quickly after we arrived. We saw 56 patients in the “dental ward.” Bo shared the gospel with a patient which was pretty cool to watch. I’m still confined to my little room but I can pop my head out when it’s not too busy and the pressure cookers are boiling.
Fortunately, it’s much cooler today. I have a window (an open space with vertical, metal poles) through which I can see the patients and feel the breeze.
The rest of the day went super-well. Taking down took a bit longer because we weren’t coming back to the Srey Snam District. It’s always sad when you have to say goodbye to any place – maybe you’ll never see it or its people again.
We ended the day on a bright note as some of the medical students had made water balloons with the leftover ones we had put up outside our clinic. Nah, we didn’t throw them at each other, although I wouldn’t have minded starting a water balloon fight, but they brought out two blankets and tried to throw a balloon to the other two students standing about 20 feet away.
The first few throws didn’t go super-well. It was pretty hilarious to watch as they twirled their blanket sort of like a sling shot, and then try to throw it only to see it slowly pop out of the blanket and pop, or never make it out of the blanket at all!
Some of the translators and I decided to make a human pyramid – none of us had ever been part of a pyramid before, so I volunteered to be on the bottom layer along with Seng Hak and Bunly, haha. We were able to make two additional layers – it surprisingly wasn’t that heavy carrying three people on our backs. I guess it helps a lot when you have two strong guys beside you!
Dinner that evening consisted of spicy noodles, rice, a beef stir-fry, soup, and fruit for dessert.
That evening, a group of us went to Pub Street and tour another Night Market – let’s see, I know my Dad and I went, and I think Banndith, Sovannara, Sony, LeangMeng, and Kimchhay came as well. We went to this little shop where I bought a sweet pair of chopsticks for my Mom (they’re hand-carved, and have a mini fork or spoon on each one!) A collapsible backpack for Jairus (it’s a full-size backpack when expanded, and you can collapse it so it’s as small as a vintage canteen – the one that looks like a circle) and four silk scarves.
I really loved not having set prices here and being able to haggle over prices! So. Much. Fun.
Our Cambodian friends knew the vendor and they were a real help in getting me used to know how much I should offer, how high I should go from my initial offer, etc. We had a great time going back and forth over prices, laughing, and just enjoying the warm evening.
Working as a team for the majority of the day and then enjoying a shared activity really helped to create friendships and bonds between us … tomorrow, three of the medical translators would be leaving.
That’s gonna be hard to say goodbye. I hate goodbyes. Ehh … let’s just enjoy today and worry about that tomorrow. I’m too tired to think about that.
Mike sharing the gospel after clinic was over for the day
The morning of the second day – the view from triage.
sorry for getting the pictures here out of order!
I was slightly confused as to what was happening at first …
The children were also curious
Loading up the truck! (Lydia and KokTow)
One of the men holding (was reading before I took the picture,) a tract written in the Khmer language
Ready for takeoff!
Haha. LeangMeng’s mission to stop the launching was successful.
The “happy” pose
Ok, act serious. The rock band picture!
Dad, still happy after a long day of work
Marty, our team’s pediatrician, talking with a few of the translators: Pheng and RaTy
Bo, one of the dental students
Riding with Farrilend and Chan Ryka
At the Night Market – (and it went something like this:) Dad: $5?
Vendor: WHAT?! No No No. $7, final price!
Hmmm … ok, how about $5.50?
No, sir, $7, final price! I give you the best price! I need to make money to make a profit!
Uhh … ok, $6.50?
LeangMeng and Sovannara!
Dad with Sony, Kimchhay, and LeangMeng
Yup, we got a group shot with the vendor! 😀
Sony and Sovannara
Banndith, Sovannara, and Dad
Banndith, Me, and Sovannara – brothers in Christ!