Monday, March 31, 2008

Hun Chey

We are starting our second week with the new doctor and he seems to be really conscientious. He is doing more testing and even some follow-ups. That has been an advantage of staying in a village longer since we had to cancel some villages due to lower water levels. I will include some pictures as soon as we get in an area that allows me to post them. I thought I was getting acclimated to the heat, but I think that was because we were in the “cool season” here. I am back to sweating just standing still. Rick got a really short haircut last weekend. He decided to go to a pro and paid $1.50 for what I would call a scalping. I considered getting a trim, but after seeing him, I thought I’d better not. Russ and Rosemary left us last weekend but we are looking forward to some more visitors this week. Alos we are getting nearer to Khmer New Year and will have a week off. gail

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Movie Day

We recently had our first movie day for the kids. The weekends are often slow so I decided we would try to let the kids watch “ The Lion King”. The day before at the coloring contest I had given them a tour of the boat and they were mesmerized by the flat screen TV’s. So we invited them to watch a movie. Even though they could not understand the words, we told them the story line and they cheered and howled at the funny and dramatic parts right on cue. The only problem we had was the youngest ones needing to go for potty breaks! We ended with a big bowl of popcorn except for one little boy kept stuffing it in his pockets to eat later! rick

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Coloring Contest

This past weekend we had a coloring contest aboard the ship. We invited all of the kidos to come and color pictures of babies and mothers and daddies and brothers and sisters. The older children obviously did the best coloring but the “judges” gave the prize to the youngest boy for his unusual color choices! Russ and Rosemary helped me to judge the drawings and then we sang a few songs for them and they sang a few songs for us. Fun was had by all! rick

Monday, March 24, 2008

Just Thinking!

Easter has come and gone with hardly a notice here in Cambodia, but for the average Cambodian, every Sunday here is just another day. But I’m sure most congregations in the Christian world had special services, flowers, singing and of course the annual picnic. We do miss these family traditions. Memories of our own bring smiles and pleasant thoughts of children hunting eggs and candy. In talking to some of the students, I think it is very difficult for them to grasp that a God would actually die for human people. With their Buddhist background, mankind is supposed to act and do good things to acquire a form of salvation. I’m glad as a nation we have Easter to remind people of a risen Savior, but even more as we commune weekly with the Lord’s Supper to remember that no matter how good we are, or what acts we complete, nothing but His blood saves us. Not only is this concept difficult for the Khmer to understand, but I think it is still difficult for Christians. I know when I read Ephesians 2: 1-10 that I have a lot to be forgiven and much to be thankful for. Gail

Friday, March 21, 2008

Lost Anchor

Well, I am once again experiencing not being able to put pictures on blog. Maybe later I can add one because this was an interesting scene. When docking at Prek Kork, our anchor came loose from the steel cable that pulls it up and down into the water. It was unbelievable because of how thick the cable, anchor and connectors are. The guys decided it was a flaw in the hook that holds anchor to cable because it split. The Captain had some local fishermen dive for it and try to locate it. They would use water hose to breath air from while under water. Several boats looked late into the first evening and then another group tried the next morning. But after lunch, a man and his 20-year old blind son tried their luck. About 3:00 in the afternoon, excitement was over the ship.. the anchor was found. The blind boy found it! They were rewarded for their effort and the crew got it back on the ship. Now we have to fix the piece that split and get back on the cable! gail

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Heading South

We have turned the ship pointing south and are heading back toward Kampong Cham City. The low water has caused us to miss some villages that we were unable to dock at. Now we are back at Prek Kork where we have been before. We are having to return to some of the same villages because of the change of schedule. We are still keeping very busy. Tomorrow will be the last day for Dr. Dona. He has aspirations of going to France and we wish him well. Dr. Srun Ly will be joining us on Monday. The blogger is not letting me attach pictures but when I can, I will put one on of Russ and Rosemary! They are keeping us laughing! Last night we played a card game called "Hand and Foot". You have to use 4 decks of cards and the rules to this game was 5 pages long. Needless to say, we weren't quite sure if we were playing correct, but we had fun! gail

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Back To Ship

It is Monday morning and we are waiting for bus back to city near ship. We have had a nice visit with the christians that meet at the PIP house last night at service. It is good to see familiar faces and that they are still active. Veasna, one of the young students from Sunset, preached the sermon. Jeanne Galvin is new teacher at house and it was good to meet her. She is younger than the usually teacher, so I'm sure the students enjoy seeing her! I think she is around 27 but I will get more info on that when she comes to visit the ship! Our quick trips to the city are tiring, yet fulfilling when we get to visit with Troy and Tabby and Rich and Rhonda. It is good for us to talk together about our different works and cry and laugh at the same time! Ok.. back to the ship! gailo

Friday, March 14, 2008

Medical Emergencies

Most of our days are pretty routine with the occasional difficult case to keep us on our toes. This past week we have had a couple of life threating situations that required urgent care.
The first one involved a little 10 year old girl. She came in for a routine extraction one morning and everything was straight forward. Her Mother brought her back to the clinic a few hours later bleeding pretty heavy. I numbed her again and cleaned out the socket and packet it with surgicel and sutured it tightly. Normally that is case closed but not for her. We moved the ship and two days later her father brought her 40 kilometers on a motorcycle and she was still bleeding, for three days! I again numbed her and did everything I could for 2 hours to stop the bleeding and could not. Dr Rus Burcham and I have neither one ever seen one like this in our combined 70 years of practice! We decided to start her on an IV and rush her to a hospital. We drove her 6 hrs to Phnom Penh and they did transfusions and testing immediately. I think she is a true hemophyliac. Her Dad told the MD her brother was this way too and they knew she was like him before they ask me to take out the tooth! Wished they would have told me! I thought she might bleed out at one point! She was white as a sheet and unresponsive at times before we got her to the hospital. I prayed hard that God would spare her life and to my knowledge, He did. Prasie be to God.
Two days later a 15 year old boy came in comatose. Our MD immediately suspected menengitis and we rushed him to the hospital as well. I hope things settle down this next week! I am ready for some more normal routine.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

R and R are Back!

The crew love Russ and Rosemary! When they heard the dynamic duo was coming back, they were excited! HA! Russ and Rosemary were with us in January, then left to go to Burma with Bill and Marie-Claire. Now they are back, but we had a little scare. Russ picked up something nasty and wasn't sure if he could return to ship or head home. But the doctor gave him something that must have killed the bad guys because he is feeling great and working in the dental op. With them here, it allows Rick and I to catch a early van (again 3:30 a.m. ugh!) to the city to interview for new personnel. It will be a quick trip, but nice having R and R hold down the ship! gail

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Operation Smile

Several times a year an International organization called Operation Smile comes to Cambodia. This group of surgeons operate on hundreds of people, mainly kids with cleft palates and lips. As we move up and down the river, I look for kiddos who need this life changing surgery.
Yesterday, I referred a one year old to go to Phnom Penh for a consultation and evaluation. Last year I saw a 47 year old man have the surgery done and had tears in my eyes as I thought how he must have felt shame and embarrassment around others with “normal” lips.
Yesterday I saw a man with a total cleft who was 73 years old. He had lived with his defect for so long I did not tell him about the surgery. Not sure if I was right or not. rick

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Good Reading!

I have recently finished a good book every man will want to read who is serious about his place in God’s family. It is named, “Four Pillars of a Man’s Heart”. It is written by a man named Stu Weber and was given to me by my new son-in-law.
This book is right on target concerning how God wants Christian men to live out their lives. It is mainly for a father, but all men need to know what it takes to be a “man’s man”. Stu Weber is just that. A Green Beret in Vietnam, a real tough guy, Stu is someone who has found his emotional side as well and knows that taking care of your wife and kids is second only to being the friend of God himself.
Thank you Zac for sharing this book with me. And thank you Stu Weber for writing it. It refreshed my soul and gives me hope for tomorrow.

Sunday, March 09, 2008


We are in Chinik as I write. It is the most remote location we visit in our one year cycle. Chinic is a Moslem village and most of the people are Islamic religiously speaking. They are of a Cham ethic origin.
Today was an unusual day. I saw 45 patients and did extractions on 44 and a cosmetic veneer on the other. Guess she had good genes! The last 5 ladies I saw today were named Sakerosh, Keresh, Mahash, Sahash, and Motok. I also saw a boy named Esau and an 18 year old boy named Man. I couldn’t help but say to him, “You da Man!”
We are going back south on the river as I write due to low water conditions. A massive sandbar we were unaware of has appeared this year and if we do not go south now, it could block us from leaving for 6 months. So we go. rick

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Ladies' Day at TNT

What a wonderful day we had! 450 ladies strong who attended the second Ladies Day at Tum Nuk Thom. In the fmiddle picture, you see Rosemary Burcham who spoke in the afternoon. Sokha, in blue/white strip shirt, is houseparent at the orphanage here. She has really matured in faith and confidence since I first met her two years ago. She works very hard teaching children and working with the ladies in the surrounding area. Her husband, Kimson, is a major leader for area. We are blessed to have them working here. In the lower picture is Rhonda Dolan who spoke in the first session. Rhonda and her husband Rich work with Sunset School in Phnom Penh. Their daughter, Rebekah is her until she leaves this summer to attend college next fall. They both did a great job. Bora translated for both. Bora works with PIP nutrition program with. She also is a wonderful Christian girl who is proving to be a great asset for the Lord. gail

Thursday, March 06, 2008


It is Thursday evening and I think I have visited enough NGOs to last a long time. NGO stands for non-government organization, and there are about 400 of these in Cambodia. Here are a few that Troy, Tabitha and I went to see: Healthnet International; CHEM (Cambodia Health Education); CARE Cambodia; Partners for Development; Save the Children, Australia; World Relief Cambodia; American Red Cross and Cambodia Red Cross; Action Contre La Fam; AusAid; UNAIDS; UNICEF; USAid; World Health Organization; BBC World; and National Center for Health Promotion which is part of the Ministry of Health. In our neighborhood, you can’t walk down any street without seeing an NGO sign in front of a house. Most of these groups use homes converted into offices. But like everything here, it takes time to get to someone who can help you. We were greeted by a Khmer receptionist then if lucky could talk to someone, but more likely had to make appointment or call back to one. Despite the difficulty, we came away with some good products. Troy and Tabbi were looking for materials for nutrition program mostly for the kids and I was looking for video clips about health and nutrition issues. I think I got some good things and was worth the effort. With all these groups helping the people of Cambodia, you know there are some good things going on in this country to help the people. We feel like we are helping their physical needs too, but pray to help them spiritual also. gail

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

New Crew

Meet Phearith and Kun Thy. They are our newest members of the Ship of Life. Phearith replaced Channy and is working in engine room among other things. He was able to fix my computer moniter connection and that was a big plus! Kun Thy is assisting Rick in the dental room. They both are adapting well and are a great addition to the staff. I have them both in my English class and they both have a good sense of humor. I have the "beginners" so my class has doubled! gail

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Baby Girl Wheeler

One of the reasons I was glad to accompany Alise back to Phnom Penh for her departure was to join with the other ladies in celebrating the birth of Nathan and Cheryl Wheeler's first child. They will return to the states this week to prepare for the arrival of a baby girl hopefully around May 23. In the picture from left to right is Natalie Hayes, who has been a team member with the Wheelers, Tabitha Snowbarger, who works with the nutrition program, me, then Cheryl. It was a fun night as we all gave "advice" to Cheryl about motherhood. Of course, it came with much humor! If you can't tell, upon arriving in PP, Alise and I went to the beauty shop. She wanted a cut, so I decided to be brave and get my first hair cut (other than doing it myself). So, what do you think? Well, we had a wonderful evening and closed with a pray circle for Cheryl. I still feel such a strong bond of love and friendship as I look around at these ladies of all ages, from all over the states, who really don't know each other all that well, but can join together in a unity with the Lord. The church is definitely not a building, it is people who share the love of the Lord.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Goodbye to Alise

This was the last evening that Alise was on the ship. We watched a beautiful sunset as the crew all said their goodbyes. Alise says she had a wonderful experience but I have no doubt she is ready to return home to her husband, Bill, and their "kids" (cat and dog)! We wish her safe travel and may she return some day in the future! gail