Sunday, April 29, 2007

2007 Graduates

As mother of the bride, I felt it was my duty to come home a couple weeks early and help Brit with last minute wedding plans! So I arrived last Wednesday in Dallas. Since Brit had one more final to study for, I came to Village to see family for weekend. I was glad I did. The Village church of Christ was honoring their seniors and my neice, McKayla Mabery was one! Of course there was a fellowship dinner and that was an added treat (not only for all the home cooking) but to visit with the church family! The picture is MaKayla with her dad and mom, Lance (my baby brother) and Shelly. Rick will arrive here May 6. It has been hard for him to write a blog because of the internet. He did write an email about a village they went to and there was about 400 people waiting on the bank! I am glad I didn't have to hand out numbers that morning! Hopefully we will get a report from him soon that I can post. Gail

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

T and T

Troy and Tabitha are back! We are so excited for the Nutrition program because it now has these two at the helm! T and T have come to lead and work with the many projects that involve the area villages. Before coming to Cambodia, Troy and Tabby worked with the Peace Corp in East Timor and Bangkok, Thailand. They certainly have experience in working with the rural families of developing nations. They are a joy to be with and what a blessing for us because they will help bring supplies to the ship when necessary!!! We pray for them and thank God for their desire to serve here in Cambodia. Gail

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

French Brigade

We had a great blessing this past week to have aboard the ship a family and friend from France. Dr. Peirre and Marilena Andrzejenski came to Cambodia with their daughter Maeva and mother Nelly. Paul Greiner accompanied them because he graciously donated to the Nutrution Project and wanted to see it first hand. Dr. Wat ,who is the Khmer doctor aboard, was called away suddenly. Peirre who has a practice in France came and worked three days for us. We hope he can plan to come in the future and stay longer! They worship in the hometown of Marie-Claire and are great friends. I loved hearing all their conversations while they were here!! Gail

Monday, April 23, 2007

Look Familiar?

Anyone who has helped with mission work knows what this picture is all about! Here, Teo, Bora, Doris and Emily helped us with repackageing of medication on the boat. It is always a time consuming job, but together laughing and talking it made the job a whole lot more fun! It certainly brings back memories for me at the Village church of Christ building with some very wonderful people! Gail

More Great News!!

This has certainly been an exciting start for 2007 with Brittany's wedding June 2 and the sailing of the Ship of Life. Greg and Janice have added to all the excitement with the announcement of their engagement! We are so happy and blessed for both of kids to have found Christian mates to share their life with. Greg will graduate from Harding University May 12 with a degree in Public Administration. He wants to take some time off and work before graduate school. Janice Wilson attended HU for one year, but because of her major in Vocal Music Education she transfered to Henderson. Her parents are Doug and Marilyn Wilson of Benton, Ark. and worship with the Northside congregation. We have had the pleasure of meeting them before we returned to Cambodia last January and take comfort in knowing there are more quality people watching over Greg while we are away! Gail

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Medical Team

This is a picture of our full time medical staff. One the far left is TiRah my assistant, then Siheang our nurse/pharmacist, and Dr Chea our MD. We have others doing screening and crowd control but this is our little team. (Something was crowding me so I had to scoot in close to the good doctor!) My assistant is quite fearful of dental work and neither he or the nurse have even been to the dentist. Both have several unrestoreable teeth but TiRah has decided to let me do a molar root canal after seeing 10 or so without anyone dying yet!! Siheang is next with several large restorations needed on his front teeth. Nothing like starting out with molar endo and often painful maxillary anterior injections, huh! I will keep you posted on the outcome.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Dental Stuff

My old staff will be entertained with this one! I now see about 25 patients per day with the help of one assistant. We mostly do extractions but I do several root canals and fillings also. This week several 3oish year old women came in with loose, perio involved front teeth desperate for some help. Well this is where it got interesting. I got out some scalers, I don't know any of the #'s or even how to use them really, and started going after 30 years of black calculus! The first lady was pretty good. It popped off pretty easy. But not the second one. The only way to remove the calculus was to remove the cementum under it! I finished thinking I should have paid my hygienist more for digging on that stuff all day. I have got to get an ultrasonic scaler of some kind or my hand will not survive!
At the end of each morning I go to sterilization and scrub all of the instruments and put them in the autoclave and then sort them after lunch and place them back in their rightful place and start over. My assistant doesn't know enough to do this yet but he is learning more each day. He has to translate everything for me but about 10 words I know so it is a challenge to just communicate. Boy am I having fun!
Dane Welch, send me your e-mail address. I cannot see yours when you answer or write about a blog. Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Just Some Pics

We are heading back to the villages tonight, so I won't get to post many pictures. Thought we would show some of our visit with Emily, Doris, Teo and Bora. We rode bikes,well Rick, Teo and I, also went for a boat ride. The table decor above is what all the families do here for Khmer New Year. They place these displays in front of home or business. I guess they eat the food at some point, but not clear on all that. The group left this morning and some of the staff are starting to trickle back. We were hopeing they would all show back up! ha! We ended our visit with a dinner on the back of the ship outside and it was great! Gail

Monday, April 16, 2007

Khmer New Year

Things have been slow on the boat since this is Khmer New Year. And they really celebrate it! It feels weird to be saying "Happy New Year" in the middle of April. But the staff are gone to their homelands and we are left to watch over the boat. Two crewmembers stayed to help us. We have visitors of Teo, Emily and Doris since their students are gone and they are off from teaching. So we had a time relaxing and visiting. It has allowed us to enjoy our birthdays alittle more, not working and tending to the crew. But I did want to set the record straight that Rick is older than me! Gail

Sunday, April 15, 2007


Every place I have been in the third world is always the same. Maybe it doesn’t happen on the first day, maybe it does. But sometime in the week at least one little girl comes into the clinic with an abscessed front tooth and all I can do is extract it or put them on antibiotics and put off the inevitable removal. The thought of their missing front tooth for the rest of their life haunts me!
It happened on the first day this time on the Mekong. She was 12. Her name was Theary. She wanted what they all want. To keep her front tooth and somehow make it look new again so she could smile like all little girls need to do. Thanks to the Ship of Life dental clinic and it’s well equipped operatory, this time was different. I asked her to wait until the end of the morning and let everyone go first. I knew it would take some time to do the root canal and the extensive restoration. My wide eyed assistant TiRah stayed by my side through one half of our lunch hour but we finished and the look on her face when I gave her the mirror was worth the effort. She beamed and the look on her face said, “I don’t know how you did that but I am thankful for my new smile!”
I’ve been waiting for this day for some time now. I did the same thing the next day for a sixteen year old boy and a 13 year old girl. This is going to be fun!

Friday was Gail’s birthday (50th!) and today is mine (40th!) Just kidding…I’m 41, or is it 51? Memory is fading fast! haha I didn’t kid Gail too much about being old. None of you did either that I know of. Maybe later, huh? It is also income tax day. Sure hope my accountant filed for an extension!

Friday, April 13, 2007

First Day of Clinic

This past Thursday was our first real clinical day on the Mekong. Overall, it was a total success. We worked at an island where the shore line was very shallow so the people had to come out to us in small boats. they then went up stairs where Madame Gail, as the crew call her, ran the triage'! That is her in the blue shirt.
We saw over 100 patients the first day which was amazing. Dr Watanak, our Khmer MD, saw around 80 patients himself. It got pretty hectic at times but we all felt great about the first day and slept very well. After much waiting we are finally doing what we came for 18 months ago. God has blessed us so many ways I cannot count them.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Christian Friends

This past week has been exciting, frustrating, fun, crazy,.... just about every emotion possible. But one wonderful feeling is having someone like Marie-Claire on board! She jumped right in trying to clean, or whatever needed to be done. And she is reminding me to keep a smile on my face! Deciding to work on this project was alot easier when we knew we had Bill and Marie-Claire working and helping along side of us. Their experience and knowledge has made our job so much easier. Eventually they will only be on board when we are gone to states, but I am enjoying every minute while we are here together. The mission field is fortunate to have these Christian workers. Gail

Sunday, April 08, 2007

All Hands on Deck

The entire crew is on duty while the ship is moving. Gail and I do not know what to do but if someone is struggling with a rope or something we are to help them. Captain Nem has given us all training in different emergency situations. We know how to deploy the life boats, respond to man overboard (MOB) situations, and go to our stations in case of a fire on board. I hope we never have to use this new knowledge but we need to be prepared. Rick

Saturday, April 07, 2007


After months of preparation and waiting, we finally left Phnom Penh on Thursday the 5th of April. It was very exciting as we moved the Ship of Life, from its home of 2 months on the Tonle Sap River, to the mighty Mekong River. The crew was all pumped up as we slowly moved toward Kompong Cham Province where we will begin our mission.
We have a small 16 ft runabout type of boat to shuttle people around and Bill and I took video and still pictures of the ship as we were in transit. We met with the Ministry of Health Director and others when we arrived. The Provincial Governor, who is the Prime Ministers brother, will tour the ship soon and we will be able to begin work. The health officials have helped us with a schedule of local communes to visit thru the month of April. It won’t be long now.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Our Blessing

I caught the profile of Rick looking out over the river as we took off down the Mekong River. It has been longer than we first anticipated to begin our mission, but, here we are. We are both mixed with excitement and yet still so many questions! But, again, we trust God and know He is looking out over us! Gail

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Hair Cut

I finally got my hair cut yesterday. I have had many here but this one was special. I got it cut where the average Khmer does; in a non air conditioned office with a dirt floor and best of all…..for 50 cents!
Didn’t look too bad either. There was a huge pile of hair under my chair, all jet black. My little pile of grayish stuff kind of stood out! I told the barber that I received my last haircut in the US in Colorado and it cost me $23! His eyes got pretty big. Rick

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Clinic Day

We had a dress rehearsal of sorts on Monday. We invited family of Partners In Progress employees to come to the ship for medical/dental visits. None of our crew knew what to expect even though we have tried to explain.
We had two Khmer MD’s and I saw dental patients. We treated about 50 patients and overall things went well. We set sail on Thursday morning for Kampong Cham where we will begin our work. We are all excited. Everyone has new uniforms and it is like the first day of school when you are in the first grade!
Please continue to pray for the Ship of Life. Rick

Monday, April 02, 2007

New Duds!

These are some fine looking men wouldn't you say?! They just got their new uniforms and are looking pretty spiffy! One of the crew said they felt like an astronaunt. Well, at least they will look good while cleaning the ship! From left to right is Channy, engineer; Rithy, custodian; Vorn, security; and Rick, dentist. Actually, Rick will not wear this while working in dental, but wanted to have one when he worked a mop! Gail