My roommate and I woke up this morning convinced that the world was ending. Music and yelling from the streets outside our hotel was so loud that we could feel the entire building shaking. Turns out it was just a parade because of the upcoming election that was casually going on at 6:20 AM. Cambodians are early risers, that’s for sure. Once we were assured that the world would in fact go on, we got up and got ready for the day. After a breakfast of noodle soup and iced coffee with sweet milk, we were off to our third clinic around Poipet.
On the bus in the morning, Dr. Massie led a devotional and prayer. She spoke about how we are all broken in our own ways, but that God uses our brokenness and our differences for the good of his Kingdom if we come to Him as we are and allow Him to work through us. If you are interested in the story that she shared with us this morning, google “Indian cracked pot story”. Unfortunately, the parades for the election caused a lot of traffic buildup and we were a bit late showing up to the Vision of Hope Center, a small Christian school that opened its doors for us to set up our clinic. Our lovely translators and other friends from Freedom’s Promise met us there. The building was small but we made it work as usual. Today was a short day due to both showing up later than planned and also because we had a three-hour bus ride from Poipet to Siem Reap, where we will be staying until Sunday morning. Despite only lasting a little over three hours, we were able to see a good number of patients. The nursing students switched roles a little bit so that we were all able to have multiple experiences over the three days. Kim and Paige soldiered on assessing and diagnosing, and the pharmacy team did an amazing job working together and working with what they had to provide the best care that we could for these people.
I had the opportunity to be at the education and prayer station, which was the last table that the patients would go to before leaving. This was a difficult but really great experience for me both as a nursing students and as a Christian. A huge part of nursing is patient education, but I have not had many opportunities in nursing school so far to put that into practice. I found myself drawing from things I have learned in nursing school so far and being so thankful to Belmont and the wonderful education that I am so blessed to receive there. I spoke to patients about things like how and why to take the medications that they were given, different diet and lifestyle changes for things like diabetes or hypertension, living with asthma, relaxation techniques for anxiety, proper hydration and nutrition, and more. My heart went out to each individual that I spoke with, especially when it was clear that they were in need of the kind of medical care or
education that we simply could not provide them with. After asking if they had any more questions, I would ask if it was okay if I prayed for them. Almost all of them said yes, and this was a special time to call on the Lord and ask for healing and safety for these people who we have grown to love so dearly in our short time here. Many of the people who I prayed over today were most likely Buddhists, but I was amazed at their reverence while praying and the kindness that they showed to me during our brief but hopefully meaningful interactions.
Around 1 PM, we packed everything up and ate a lunch of peanut butter sandwiches and some delicious fresh mango from right off the trees outside the school. The translators and everyone from Freedom’s Promise showed us so much love and kindness during our three days here, and they gave each of us a gift of a beautiful Cambodian scarf. After a prayer, lots of photos and hugs goodbye, our group of 20 piled into our bus and headed to SIem Reap.
The bus ride was about three hours long and the other undergraduate nursing students and I we passed the time telling gross and funny stories from our experiences in nursing school. We were stuck in traffic once again in Siem Reap because of the election. Once we arrived to the hotel we were greeted with cool towels and tea. We ate dinner at a rooftop restaurant on the top floor of our hotel. The hotel here in Siem Reap is very nice and we are all so excited to have a break from working hard in the clinics and for the opportunity to tour the temples around Siem Reap tomorrow! Everyone is going to bed early because tomorrow we leave at 4 AM to catch the sunrise at Angkor Wat!