Settling In

2011 Mission Trip to Cambodia
from Rachel Bettis, Pharmacy Class of 2013
Greetings friends! Or as we would say in Khmer, “sues ‘day!” We woke up today feeling refreshed as we are finally adjusting to the twelve-hour time difference. The morning began with an early trip to the hospital by tuk-tuk in order to arrive in time for rounds. We split off into groups so that we could get an in-depth look at the dispensing processes used by Sihanouk; Dan M. and Dan S. went to the warehouse, Norman, Belinda, and Dr. Franks stayed in the central pharmacy, and Pamela and myself went to the CMC.
While in the CMC, I ran in to Sineth, one of the women we met at church last night. She immediately recognized me and greeted me with a hug and a smile. We began speaking about the differences between Cambodia and the United States which turned into a conversation about God and how he works in different ways. I told her how moving it was to attend the Phnom Penh Church of Christ. The second we walked in the church we could feel God moving within the people. In the United States, it often seems like we think we need to attend a big, fancy church with a state-of-the-art sound system in order to be a good Christian. However, I personally do not believe that God can be contained within any sort of walls and therefore church can be anywhere- be it a church like the ones seen in America, a modest building in the heart of a city, or even a field. The members of this church seem to understand this concept much better than me; I have never felt such a sense of belonging during my first visit to a church, especially one in a foreign country! After my visit with Sineth, I joined the pharmacy and nursing students and faculty for yet another delicious lunch at the hospital.

Once we finished lunch, the pharmacy students learned some exciting news- we were invited to sit in on a P&T (Pharmacy and Therapeutics) meeting conducted by several surgeons and pharmacists. In this meeting, my eyes were opened to many issues that I have never thought about before. For example, I had assumed that any and all donations made to the hospital in the form of medication would be beneficial to the hospital. However, I had never considered the fact that the hospital is then financially responsible for the incineration of any medication that reaches its expiration date before being dispensed to a patient or sent to another pharmacy. Because of this, it can actually hurt the hospital to receive a donation of medications that will expire soon. This is not to say that Sihanouk shouldn’t receive donated medication; rather, it is extremely important to be in contact with the hospital regarding the supply and demand of medications before donating them.
At the end of the P&T meeting, we learned that we were in for yet another treat. We had finished early enough to take our first visit to the Russian Market! The market consists of clothes, jewelry, and other souvenirs from this great country, but in order to purchase these items it is best to learn a new skill- bargaining. I had a wonderful time finding presents for friends and family while trying to negotiate with the vendors. Susan also took us by a boutique called Beautiful Shoes where we designed custom-fitted leather shoes in any design and color that we wanted. It is a great feeling to know you’re helping the local economy by buying from vendors from the area… at least this is what I tell myself in order to make my shopping sprees seem somewhat philanthropic. 🙂
As I conclude today’s entry, I wanted to say a BIG thank you to all of our friends and family at home who are providing us with continuous support. Your thoughts and prayers have been incredibly encouraging to everyone on the trip- keep it up! Also, feel free to comment on any of the blogs in order to give us your perspective. Thanks and we love you all.