Saturday, March 31, 2007

Face To Face

“There we were. Eye to eye, so close I could feel the steam coming out of his flared nostrils.” Sounds kind of like a Hemingway novel huh? “As I came through the tall grass up from the depths of the great river….there he was. The very creature that had eluded me for so long!”
The truth is, as I came down the gangplank the other day, there was a small herd of water buffaloes grazing on the river bank. This fearsome looking creature was really just a yearling calf. The males do get very large however. Some of them look to weigh 1500 lbs! I would probably walk way around a big one! Rick

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Traffic Help

The Cambodian Red Cross has been trying to help educate the local auto and moto drivers how to stay stopped until the green light turns on. Most autos abide by this simple concept of stopping on a red light, but the motos and cyclos could care less what color the light is. I think we are ready to get on the boat and let the Captain drive, and stay clear of the traffic for a while! Gail

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Angels Rejoice!

Let me first identify who is in the picture so you can know who I am talking about. From left to right are Marie-Claire McDonough, Srei Mom, me, Saron, and Teo Soos. Four nations are represented here and two years of study. France, Cambodia, USA, and Romania. Srei Mom and Saron are great friends who work together at the Cambodian National Museum in the archeology department. Neither one studied past high school, but they wanted to learn English. They were able to understand enough to be accepted into the WEI program, but it was difficult for both. Throughout the two years, both have been taught by Marie, Teo and I and several teachers who filled in gaps between times when others were gone. Every day, they came with questions and thoughts on what they were reading. Normally, it doesn’t take so long to finish the course, but both had some difficulty with language skills, but more importantly, they wanted to learn and understand about the Bible. Saron accepted Christ two months ago. Srei Mom was baptized last Sunday. We knew both were not being flippant about this decision because of the time it took to decide. Their families do not accept this decision. Srei Mom fears that her family will alienate her if they find out about her being a Christian. Please pray for these two beautiful young ladies. Please pray for the others who are trying to live for Christ is a Buddhist world. Gail

Monday, March 26, 2007

Home Remedies

One of our employees recently had a bout of gastrointestinal flu. I gave him some Pepto Bismol for an initial treatment. After a few hours, he decided he needed to add some additional traditional Khmer therapy. The Khmer believe that when sick, if one will scrape their skin with a sharp object, it will relieve their body of the offending cause or causes. This action lets out the “heat” in their body which brings their body back into a balanced state of temperature. I think I will stick to Imodium/Pepto Bismol regime! Rick

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Farewell to Loren and Penny

We are sad to see Loren and Penny Hollensworth leave today. Loren has been teaching at Sunset school and Penny has been seeing some students at the PIP English school. They have worshipped with us and also he has preached at the Khmer church. Again, we say how blessed we are to meet and get to know some very awesome people, and Loren and Penny are definitely some of them!

Just thought you might like to see the "muddy bank" I referred to in an earlier blog. I know it looks trashy, but the wood, plastic, styrofoam, and other items helped us walk up without sinking to far down! Great exercise, too! gail

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Precious Few

There are only a few moments in ones life that seem really important. When we look back things that seemed to matter so much seem only small with the passing of time. You know what I mean don’t you?
This afternoon I had shared a special moment with a mother and child I told you about earlier. I only wished you could have been with me when they brought this little 7 month old to her mom after her surgery. Mom must have thought that a miracle occurred when she saw her brand new, all in one piece, plump little upper lip! What joy she must be feeling to not have everyone stare at her like a little freak child.
Surely she must be thanking some god in some heaven somewhere for the gift they have both received. With time the little scars will fade and no one will remember what she looked like before.
Many helped make this happen. 57 team members with “Operation Smile” did most of the work. They have helped tens of thousands over the last 25 years. The local church bought formula so the baby could eat and gain enough weight for the surgery. I was only the taxi driver. Thank you God. Rick

It's Raining!

Well, we should know by now that when you gripe about something, there is something always worse. Leaving the boat, we have to climb up a dirt bank to the road. It is always dusty and our shoes get pretty bad. Last night it rained. The dirt bank turned into a mud slide! We tried several ways to get up and keep our shoes from getting too bad. Yea, right! The first trip I wore a pair of rubber sandals that I wear around the boat. I left them in the grass because they were covered in mud. But upon our return, they were gone. There are always scavengers walking along the bank looking for treasures. I just thought with the rain there would not be anybody out today. So the second time up the bank I tied plastic bags around my feet. That worked great! Looked funny but did the job. I doubt anybody will take my muddy plastic bags away! We got a taste of things to come during the rainy season! Gail

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Teo's Birthday

We have neglected posting blogs for a few days and we apologize. You are probably wondering how it could possibly take so long to prepare to depart. After anxiously waiting for over a year and the boat arrives, why are we not just ready to take off?! Well, we wonder, too! We are waiting on a Vietnamese boat man to come and check some things out that we are having problems with. Also, our electrician left, so now we are looking for replacement along with a medical doctor. The nurse and medical trainee are working well so far and we hope that continues. Our cook is great. Last week we had him prepare all western meals for lunch and he did a great job. This week we are back to Khmer food. The captain is happy about that. The cost of meals is quite a lot less when preparing Khmer! Today was Teo’s birthday and when we went out for lunch we surprised her with this desert (in picture). It was pretty, but looked better than tasted. All eight of us helped her with it! Ha! She was embarrassed because Rick was trying to get the waitress to sing Happy Birthday to her. Khmer people don’t really celebrate birthdays. On the Khmer New Year, which is coming up in April, everyone becomes a year older then. Oh, and I do appreciate those of you who already realized that this year is the big 5-0 for me! Ha! Rick is treating staff and seeing some people who live around the boat on Saturdays. I am still assisting and Rick tried to teach me to take x-rays this past Saturday. He is developing them now, so maybe I’ll let you know how they come out. I am looking forward when the trainee will start assisting him. I think mopping floors is a lot easier than suctioning saliva and blood out of mouths. Gail

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Another Eye Opener!

OK…..we are not having fun all of the time, just most of the time. This week I went to the medical supply area of town to do some shopping and get some prices. I thought I had it down pretty well but boy was I surprised!
The first shop we went into seemed pretty normal until we checked on a medical device and asked the price. I wrote down the price and inquired about a different type of device. The sales lady seemed very upset and wouldn’t even look at me or talk to me. I wasn’t sure what was happening.
Siheang told me after we left that people are very put out if you ask the price and do not buy. When we went to two more shops I decided to try a little experiment. I told my friend to inform the salesman that we would not be buying anything, but would rather be shopping to see what we liked and how much it cost. To my great surprise both shop owners would not serve us! They asked us to go elsewhere! I sure have been turning a lot of people off I guess! Nothing has a price tag so if you don’t ask, it could be 2 or 3 times what you think. Sounds strange, huh?
Just another day in Cambodia I guess. We continue to learn each day. We certainly cannot share Jesus if we are offensive. Hope we don’t run out of money first! Rick

Monday, March 12, 2007

Back Deck Supper

Crazy Days!

Have you ever had one of those days where everything seems to go wrong! This past week has felt like that. We have had a few problems with staff and ship repairs. But then when we gathered for sunday p.m. service and had about 40 Khmer and they were singing so strong and happy.... well, it makes the problems disappear. Maybe the Lord knew we needed His day to stop and praise him, but also to remember what we are here on earth for and not let the little stuff make us crazy! Gail

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Porthole View

I was standing in our office on the boat and looked up to see this sunset. I know it looks like we are under water, and well we just about are. The office and our bedroom is on lower deck. The portholes are about two feet from water line. It was a beautiful sight that the picture does not capture. Something unusual happened today. It rained! It hasn't rained since November and the rainy season does not start until May. But we woke to the sound of pitterpat on the windows. Of course, a few doors were not closed and many things got wet, but no big deal since we are daily dealing with water! Gail

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Mango Season

Teo is standing in front of a mango tree. Tis the season and are they ever delicious! Another good reason to come and visit us is the fresh fruit and vegetables! I know it may be abit far to come just for fruit, but it sure is sweet and tasty!

Sunday, March 04, 2007


There are so many pretty little girls at our village clinics. I often feel the urge to give them something but not much is available. Last week I improvised somewhat and came up with a balloon and a necklace. Well, they were really a blown up latex glove and a bib chain to hold the paper napkin around the patients neck! Both girls seemed to love their gifts just as much as if I had shopped at the best stores in the US for them.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Kids Safety Helmets

What a great sight we saw one day on the way home from a village. Some large company handed out safety helmets to children at a school. When school is out, there is no doubt. The road fills up with kids of all sizes in white tops and blue bottoms. On this day and at this school, a couple hundred kids came out with red helmets on! It is a great thought, whoever this NGO is, that donated these helmets. As you can see in pictures of street scenes we post, most people travel by bicycle or moto; and most do not wear helmets! So we smiled and were happy to see all the red helmets bobbing around! Gail

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Village Clinics

We took our last trip to the villages on Wednesday and Dr. Bruce Hess and Amanda will leave on Friday. They are from Alaska and
we hope they will bring more Alaskans back with them when they return! The village in the pictures is Tom Tum Tngii. I doubt that is how you spell it, but that is as close as I can come up with. Rick is having a break with some water. He got stuck in sun most of the day, but there was a nice breeze. I guess you can find me in the picture with all the kids! Rick finished up first and went out and played ball with them in the road. They all had a good laugh with that. It is tiring and uncomfortable at times, but the smiles and the feeling you get is more than worth the discomfort. Short-term mission work has its place, and the need is always there. Dr. Hess did check a little 6 month old baby with a very high fever. We hated to leave him with just antibiotics not knowing what exactly was causing it. So we loaded baby and mother in the van and brought them back to a pediatric hospital in Phnom Penh. That brought about another experience of the witnessing the lack of communication and understanding of the medical system here. I think Bruce and Amanda were totally frustrated, but they saw first hand the inadequacies of the hospitals and medical staff. After checking today on the baby, he is doing much better and realized that it probably would have been alright to leave him in the village with medicine that Dr. Hess could dispense. But we wanted to make sure. Hopefully the ship will have a fully functioning lab that can handle situations like this. Bruce and Amanda still hope to return to Cambodia and work and we are very excited about that! Gail