Monday, July 30, 2007

Village Sitbo

We have moved down the Bassac River and have stopped at a village named Sitbo. Our new neighbors are the two cows in the picture! Last night they had a fire built near them to keep the mosquitoes off! It seems strange to be on the Bassac River while our name is the Mekong River Project! Even though the river is different, the people and villages are the same. Yesterday, it looked stormy all day but never rained. In the evening we caught this picture of a rainbow. The clouds brought some cool air that was awesome! gail

Friday, July 27, 2007

River Life

Every afternoon around 3:30, these long boats pull up behind the ship. They unload their daily catch of fish to sell to the market. They are a community of Cham people who live on these boats. I watch several ladies change their dresses to white robes and bow on the mat to their God. The Cham people are Islam, and there are many that reside in Cambodia. Today, I heard laughing and went to watch what they were doing. The children were playing with some of the older boys. They bathe in the river and some people come and go with goods and then they load the boats and leave. Yesterday, a woman was cooking something on a small clay pot mounted on the back just outside the covered part. It certainly makes me think twice about complaining about anything while on this very comfortable ship! gail

Thursday, July 26, 2007

On Your Mark, Get Set, GO!

Every morning is a new experience as we greet the crowd that hopes to enter the Ship of Life. Numbers are handed out to control the amount of people to see the doctor and dentist. As you can see, there are always more people than numbers. Rick and Dr. Wat do their best to give numbers to the most in need, but there are still others who need care. Siheang, the pharmacist/nurse, helps also in getting the people to line up. Some mornings, the people push and shove and Dr. Wat gets a bit nervous. I think Rick’s height helps him to maintain some sense of order for the dental line. We are looking for improvement in our systems, but I think as long as there are more people, there will always be some people disappointed and get aggressive the next day. gail

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Prek Samrong

We moved 1 kilometer down from where we had our official greeting to a village named Prek Samrong. As we settled next to the bank, I notice this little shack while looking out the laundry room window. I didn't think much about it until our cook, Darith, starting laughing. I asked what's up and he said we were parked next to the outhouse! Ok, well that was a nice thought. I think maybe it will not be used while we are here working. Since we are close to the city, we are seeing some friends and family of the crew. I really appreciate Kevin and Cathy here!. Kevin is maintaining order at the door and getting patients up and down while Cathy works triage. She is able to help some and bypass the doctor. She has a challenge ahead however. Rick thinks I need to learn out to clean wounds and she has to teach me! Ha. gail

Monday, July 23, 2007

Successful Meeting

The meeting went well today with the Ministry Leaders and Province officials. The Govenor could not come, but the Lt. Govenor came in his place We were glad this meeting happened for several reasons. The main one being that we can begin work here in Kandal province. Secondly, it was a way to communicate to several leaders the work we want to do and our goals. Darith, our cook, did a great job with the fruit displays and setting the tables. Presentation with the correct drink and food is very important in this culture. There was an exchange of gifts between us and the different representatives. Another important action during a meeting of this type. All went well and we can begin work tommorrow. Kevin and Catherine were a great help in helping clean and prepare for this event! gail

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Kandal Province

We are in Takmao now and docked next to a large boulevard. The Governor of the province is suppose to visit the ship on Monday before we move to the area where we will first work. We are never certain if the meetings that are set up will actually happen until they happen. But we will prepare the Ship for his visit and hope all goes well, so we can get to work. Every evening people come and just sit and watch the ship. I am sure we are just a curiosity to them and it is a common thing for people to just sit and enjoy the evenings outside. So I guess watching us is like a tv show! Ha In the picture, Sandy is leaving us after two and half weeks. She has been very helpful in setting up the x-ray machines and processor. I must say she took some very good pictures of feet, hands, elbows and whatever else. After the first day, one of the crew members was brave enough to ask us (for the rest of the crew) if it was true that whenever an x-ray was taken that the people in the vicinity of the machine were in danger of becoming unable to have children. Rick quickly assured him that there was no danger whatsoever to anyone on the ship working of having any problems! Cathy Carson is next to Sandy. Kevin and her will be here another two weeks. It's great, yesterday she baked banana muffins! what a treat! gail

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Leaving Kampong Cham Province

We are leaving Kampong Cham Province in which we have been since starting to work on the Mekong River. Now the Ministry of Health has asked us to head south to Kandal Province. A good thing about this move is that it is closer to Phnom Penh and the crew can get away on weekends to visit friends and family. It is nice for us also to be able to visit the group at the PIP house and attend morning services with them. We want to keep having evening services on the ship to encourage the crew. We passed some pretty fields because the rain is keeping everything green. You can see the line on the bank where the water will eventually rise to as the season continues. The night before we left we had a popcorn party for the school age children. Every evening many children just play nearby and we knew it wouldn’t take much to get a group, so we popped corn and played jump rope and had a great time. The evening ended with Peseth and Channy teaching them the song “God is so Good” in Khmer to sing. I couldn’t believe how quickly they caught on and sang very loud! God is so very good and we are continually blessed. Gail

Thursday, July 19, 2007

New Canadian Recruits!

Kevin and Catherine Carson joined us last Wednesday on the Ship of Life. We are so happy to have them here. We were able to get to know them from last summer when they were here teaching at the Wei school in Phnom Penh. Cathy is a nurse, so she is using her skills in triage, cleaning wounds, and many other ways. As you can see in the picture, Kevin is our crowd control. We all appreciate that job! Not sure if y0u can pick him out in the picture, but he is the one with the hat on down front! ha They will be with us for three weeks! gail

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Wild Flowers

Everywhere we go there seems to be flowers growing in the wild. We went for a walk recently and saw these little blue flowers growing wild beside the dirt road. Cambodia may not be very developed economically but God has certainly blessed her with some beautiful flowering plants to paint the landscape with wonderful colors and smells that seem to be everywhere we go.
We also continue to be overwhelmed with beautiful sunsets on the river. Yesterday we saw the most vivid brilliant rainbow I have ever seen. It rains everyday so we have many opportunities to see rainbows. It gave us the chance to tell several crew members about God’s promise to never destroy the earth again by water. Rick

Monday, July 16, 2007

Jesus and the Paralytic

Everyday people are carried on to the boat by family members who cannot walk themselves. Many have suffered a stroke, been injured in an accident, or are simply to sick or old to walk themselves. We see them all just like Jesus.
Unlike Jesus however, we cannot heal them. I am reminded of Jesus healing the paralytic in Luke Chapter 5. The Bible says that when He saw the faith of the paralized man's friends, he not only healed him but also forgave his sins! What a great job in life. Carrying people to Jesus. That’s what I want to do in life. Just simply carry people to where they can see Jesus. Rick

Sunday, July 15, 2007

X-Ray Tech - Sandy West

Sandy West has been with us for the last week. She is from Kalamazoo, Michigan and is a very experienced x-ray technician. Sandy has helped us get our x-ray facility up and running and is training us at the same time.
Don’t you love being around people who know how to really laugh? Sandy is one of those people. When she is tickled, she knows how to just let it out not caring if anyone is listening or not. We have learned to love Sandy and really appreciate all that she has done for us. Rick

Saturday, July 14, 2007

American Peace Corp

Today I had a wonderful Saturday morning in the Village of Peam ChiKang. After sleeping in somewhat, 7:00 o’clock, we had breakfast and then went into the village for a little shopping. We found all of the supplies we wanted and then visited with several young men who wanted to speak a little English. We talked for several minutes and then we met the Village Chief who is elected by the people to his office, and he also wanted to practice some English. In the conversation he told me about a young American girl with the Peace Corp living in his village. Gail and I went to her home and had a delightful visit.
Erika is a recent graduate of Rutgers University and has been living in this remote Cambodian village for 5 months now. She is teaching English in the public school system while living with a Khmer host family. She is committed to do so for the next two years.
We invited Erika to visit us on the boat for the evening. She was pumped to say the least! We fed her toasted cheese sandwiches and popcorn to eat and diet coke to wash it down. I think she really needed a little American company from her reaction. We watched the movie, “We Are Marshall” together and had some good laughs before she had to go back home. Pretty impressive young lady! Rick

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Sunday Morning

It was great to be back with the group that meets at the PIP house Sunday. We do miss the fellowship while on the ship. Bill gave a great lesson on the letter to Titus from Paul. He reminded us that Paul was urging Titus to stay and fight for the Lord. We have disappointments and frustrations here just like at home. Sometimes we wonder if we are doing the right things and why are we even here. But lessons from God's word always brings life into perspective. We are here because God loves us and we can share his love. It is so easy to cut and run when difficulties arise. But like Paul was encouraging Titus to stay and continue to work, we have people to encourage us to "stay and continue to work". Bill quoted Jack Exum when he said, "if you don't want problems, get out of the church". That can be said of anything and anywhere. I believe God established the church because he knew there would be problems and we should help one another instead of quitting. Thank you, Bill, for reminding us of the bigger picture than just of ourselves. gail

Friday, July 06, 2007

Just Thinkin'

Well, I did a funny thing this past week. I was standing in front of the mirror in the bathroom and decided to cut my hair. I got some sissors and cut away. Rick came in and asked “What are you doing?!” I guess I just had a hot attack and was tired of hair in my face. But I think I got alittle carried away and Rick had to help “fix” my cut job! I am working at triage by myself and that gets rather sticky. Not only heat wise, but also, people wanting to see the doctor but we don’t have enough time. It is at these times when it is both good and bad that I can not speak Khmer well. Good because I can stand there and look dumb, bad because I try to explain that there is only one doctor and so many hours in a day. However, the sun sets and there is another day. And, no, I am not going to put a picture of me on with my whacked hair cut! gail

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

The 4th of July

It is 8 P.M. on the 4th of July. No one has mentioned the holiday. Not one firework has exploded all day. I have not seen an American flag or any kind of banner. I didn’t even get the day off!
I am proud to be an American though. The song may be kinda overused but when you live in the third world it rings true. No one around us knows the kind of freedom that we enjoy in America. When I try to describe it to the crew they just think I am exaggerating it seems. They cannot grasp that I can criticize the government and not fear for my life. They cannot grasp that I own many guns and shoot them regularly. They don’t understand “We the People”!
I’m kinda jealous of those having a back yard picnic today. Hotdogs and chips and baked beans and home made ice cream…..umm umm! Fireworks in the Village from the Bennett’s back yard sounds good too. Hope you all have a wonderful time. Never take for granted your freedom that most of the world cannot fathom. We have wonderful memories from the past but at the same time are blessed to be here.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Kyle Kophamel

Kyle has just completed his 2nd year of Medical school in Ireland. He grew up in South Africa but later moved to Ireland with his family. He heard about the Ship of Life from his church family last year and has spent the last month with us. This pic shows him along with his translator, Mineah, helping a patient with her painful shoulder. Kyle worked with Dr Shannon DeShazo for his first week and then continued to help in clinic for the next three.
Kyle was loved by our young Cambodian crew. He fit right in with our 20ish year old guys. Several times he went into the village with the crew and played “football” against some of the local players. Kyle is also a serious Christian with a deep and abiding faith in Jesus Christ. We expect to see Kyle many times in the future.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Don Johnson

We were blessed to have Don Johnson with us this last month. Don is a practicing pharmacist in Jacksonville Arkansas. Don has worked with Partners in Progress for many years now putting together pharmaceuticals for many of the teams in the past years.
I do not what I would do without Don’s help. He knows what we need before we do! He helped Siheang tremendously this last month understand how to best package and distribute drugs to our patients. The best thing about don is his spirit. He is always pleasant with anyone he comes into contact with from what I could see. What a wonderful Christian example to everyone this week. Don, thank you for helping us in the past and for your willingness to continue in the future.