|(Click images to view larger versions.)|
I am going on this trip because I want to develop a deeper appreciation of the Cambodian culture. By opening my eyes and learning to respect the culture, people, and health care system, I will become a better physical therapist. Through cultural exchange, I will bring my knowledge to the Cambodian physical therapists, while they will teach me far more than I can imagine.
…Personal Thoughts on the Journey
I am going to Cambodia hoping to gain better insight into a complex culture. I love traveling and learning about different ways of living and different perspectives. I hope to gain some experience working in a health care setting much different than those in the United States. Because I dream of traveling as a health care professional, this study abroad trip is really a wonderful opportunity for me to get a taste of my future. Also, Cambodia is such an interesting country, with so much history and culture, I am really excited to get to see it and learn more about the people.
The team arrived safely in Hong Kong this morning and is currently waiting on their flight to Bangkok. Hopefully, the team will be posting on their own soon… ‘just a couple of small technical details to take care of first.
A printable (PDF) version of the Cambodia team’s itinerary is now available for those who wish to follow their schedule: Trip Itinerary (PDF)
Pictured here (left to right): Diane, Stefani, Julia, Susan Tapin, Anson, and Sharon Dowdy.
(click image to view larger size)
This year’s mission team to Cambodia started their journey early this morning at the main terminal in Nashville’s airport. Some did not get any sleep last night and some were up early wrapping up last minute details, but all arrived with time to say their good-bye’s to family and friends before heading to the departure gate.
Internet access for the group will be limited for the next few days. Live posting of stories may not begin until sometime Wednesday. If you would like to receive an email notification when new stories are added, use the subscription form.
21 hours of flying, 12 hours of layovers, and very little sleep was the experience most of us had on our way home. I’ve been home for less than an hour and I already miss Cambodia. I miss the crazy traffic that scares every one of us Americans. I miss the silly tuk tuk drivers hollering at me, asking if I want a ride somewhere. I miss all the women in the markets yelling at me to come look at their over-stuffed walls and tables, trying to convince me that they “give you good price, just for you lady”. I miss the strange and mysterious smells of the city that somehow change every few feet. I miss the feel of being sticky and sweaty. I miss cute little babies everywhere I go. I miss the kids at the orphanage always wanting more hugs and affection. And I miss the family that the 7 of us became, with mama bear to lead the way.
We had our ups and downs; but that’s to be expected when being around the same group of people for a solid 3 weeks. We became somewhat of a messed up family with all of our different personalities and weird habits. As much I as needed to get away to have my alone time, I know that I’m going to miss that group and the bunch of ‘lop lops’ that we were together.
I didn’t think this would happen, but Cambodia stole my heart. I want to return to Cambodia in December with Shannon to help teach a journal club at the hospital and teach English at the orphanage. I have the desire to go back and help that community in anyway I can, now all I need is the money!
I think that I have always believed in miracles but sometimes I simply forget to see them. Being here in Cambodia has allowed me to see so many everyday miracles. My thought began to drift to miracles when I saw the boy I spoke of in my last blog walking with his mother in the hospital. I came rushing around a corner and almost ran right over them! They could not understand my words but I know that his mother recognized me and saw the happiness on my face when I saw him out of bed and walking.
After I left them I couldn’t believe what I had seen, I really did not expect for him to live through the week and now here he was standing in front of me. He was literally a walking miracle. The more I thought about it the more I realized that God works so many miracles everyday and often times we are just to busy or to blinded to see them. Sometimes the miracles are big and obvious, like the boys recovery or the birth of a baby, and sometimes they simply appear small and ordinary. I saw a miracle in the sunrise and in the sunset for the first time in a long time that day. I suddenly noticed the children playing and their smiles, the elephant as it strolled down the street, the rain and the smell of the flowers in the evening. There are so many miracles every day and I have been fortunate enough to have been able to be a part of all of them here in Cambodia. I can only hope that you too have seen the miracles in your life today and that regardless of what country you are in or what language that you speak you know that you are a part of a miracle.