Mission to Cambodia 2012
A Servant's Heart
from Cameray Hart
We already are keeping quite busy on our second day in beautiful Cambodia. Because of our schedules being thrown off so much from the time change, most of us automatically woke up well before 6 or 7. After a breakfast at the hotel, we headed by bus to southern Cambodia. The bus ride there was filled with many images one would be hard-pressed to find in the US. Motos (mopeds or motorcycles) speeding by with Mom, Dad, and their three children piled on. Market places selling traditional food, handwoven baskets, and other such specialties. And miles and miles of rice fields.
After driving three hours, we made it to our destination: the city of Kampot. Of course, the first thing we did was have lunch. The place we picked was called "Natural Bungalow" and it definitely stayed true to the name. We had a bungalow right on the river with the mountains in the background. The food was good, but the company was better. Being the only ones at the restaurant, we were able to get to know each other better.
When we had all eaten, it was on to a tour of another hospital. Unlike the hospital in Phnom Pehn, this hospital was virtually brand new (photo right). Walking around the vast grounds, all I could think was that this was a place that Florence Nightingale would have liked. Almost the entire complex was open to the sunshine and breeze. If the rooms didn't have a view of a courtyard, they had a view of the lush mountains in the background. It was a place of healing.
However, upon viewing the hospital, it was clear that they still had quite a bit to do before it was up and running properly. The people who designed the hospital did not have a good sense of the needs specific to Cambodia. For instance, right now, they are trying to find a way to get the patient's from the infectious ward to the surgical ward without going through the intensive care unit. Normally, they would wheel them outside, but this would be very difficult in the middle of a Cambodian Monsoon. Right now, because of money constraints and lack of man power, only part of the hospital is up and running. It seems like the people who built it had the hearts of servants, but not necessarily the brains of problem solvers.
We were also able to share a dinner with some of the doctors and staff working at the hospital. Each of their stories of how they came to live and serve in Cambodia was so inspiring. It was a happy dinner with new friends. After dinner, we made our way 45 minutes to Kep to our hotel for the night.
Other highlights of the day:
- Meeting some of Mrs. Taplin's Cambodian friends
- Stopping at a roadside stand to buy handwoven baskets
- Driving by bus to the top of Bokor Mountain and seeing beautiful views of Kampot and the Gulf of Thailand.
- Learning about traditional Cambodian weddings.
- Seeing the Cambodian country-side for the first time
- Welcoming the cool wind at the abandoned casino on Bokor Mountain (photo right)