Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Loyal Fan

Many of you know of my love for the Texas Rangers Baseball team. I am what you might call a “diehard” fan! For many years now I have been dying for a winner. I am still dying!
This year’s team started out with no fanfare and it was hoped that they could give a respectful showing in the league. Well they have done much more than that. Only today, in the last week of the regular season, have they been eliminated from playoff contention!
Even in Cambodia, I wear my hat and Rangers t-shirts with great pride. No one knows who they are but I do. I am proud to be a Texas Rangers fan and cannot wait until next year when much more will be expected from the home team. I “pity the fools” who take us lightly next season!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Helping Hands

Often during a clinic, people will bring their food or purchase food from traveling vendors. This normally means there will be alot of trash just thrown on the ground. Most Cambodians have yet to understand the concept of "No Littering". So sometimes when we are on someone's property, I like to go out and pick up as much as possible. Before leaving Sitbo, I went out with a trash bag and started picking up paper. These young men started helping me without a word from me. They ran around picking up so much, I had to go get a bigger bag. I think they went to neighbor's area too. Hopefully it made some type of impression with them. I gave them a Coke to drink as a thankyou and they laughed with delight! gail

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Troy Snowbarger's Big Day

Our good friend Troy had a big birthday this past Friday night. He turned the big 30! Several of us got together with him and Tabitha to celebrate the big occasion. Tabitha made him travel to the party blindfolded! What a hoot!
We played games and had a good time of fun and fellowship overall. Troy lost at cards and I constantly told him about the things that elderly people have to endure. Like getting up to go to the bathroom several times at night and short term memory loss. I can't remember any more things! He took it all in good faith and a good time was had by all. Tabitha made him wear the hat all night also.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Back from Burma

Bill and Marie-Claire came over from Burma for a few days and it was great getting together. They were able to meet Walt and Sarah and also visit with Dale and Evelyn Lundy. The Lundys are here for a month while Dale teaches at the Sunset Bible school and Evelyn teaches students English here at the house. It is such a great support system for us to have the WEI school here with teachers coming and going and we get to visit with some. When we come into the city from the countryside, it gives us a chance to have some fellowship. gail

Thursday, September 24, 2009


We have been at this village, Sitbo, for two weeks now. One week during Pchum Ben and one week working. We will pull up anchor tomorrow and head to a new village. The big tree has been great to shade the people from the sun. One day when Rick and I returned from the city, Piseth was out cutting the weeds with a sickle and burning some of the leaves to make room for the people. As you can see, we have had some crowds. Many waited this afternoon in hopes of the doctors handing out more numbers. Rick gave 8 more numbers out and I'm sure they were a happy eight!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Fun with the Kids

It is great to hold the babies that allow me to when they are not scared. But I always have this uneasiness that they are going to do their business down my front and that would not be fun. After all this time, I have yet to be messed on, until today. The ironic part is I was not even holding the little bugger. He was on his mom’s lap sitting on the bench next to where I was doing blood pressures. For a little guy, he had the power that shot across and down my leg and into my shoe. Of course everyone started laughing and I had to also! So I picked up the little guy and he started smiling, as if he knew what he had done. Then I realized he was smiling at the ducks on my shirt. The pictures are not of the guy that wet on me, but just some when we drove into Phnom. gail

Monday, September 21, 2009

Day of the Dead

Sunday the 20th of September is the most holy of days for the Cambodian Buddhist. It is called, “The Day of the Dead”.
This day is the last day of the 15 day celebration called Pchum Ben or the “Festival of the Dead”. Gail wrote about Pchum Ben earlier on the blog. Here are some additional facts about this day from the local newspaper.
“ During this and the preceding two week period, all Buddhist Cambodians should take offerings to at least one temple and a maximum of seven. It is believed that the more pagodas one visits, the greater happiness and more harmony they earn. If no offering is made during that time, the ghost will put a curse on the offender, resulting in a forlorned existence. However, if the ghost are fed they bless the provider; increasing the likelihood of success, health, and happiness.”
This tradition goes back to the time before the Cambodians were Buddhist. These animistic practices are tied to the Buddhist practices of respect and honor for ones ancestors, however. After being here less than one month, a young Cambodian named Kavick asked me if I believed in Ghost. I quickly said no of course not! I had no knowledge of his customs or beliefs and probably offended him greatly. After several years my answer might have been different or at least, more sensitive.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Hot Springs

Many of you know that Gail and I live in Hot Springs Village, Arkansas. Close by is Hot Springs National Park famous for the “hot springs” found there.
Yesterday I traveled to hot springs on a motorcycle with a couple of my friends. I have done that at least one hundred times over the years in Arkansas but this time was different. We made a trek to the Hot springs found in Cambodia!
While it takes about 20 minutes to travel to Hot Springs from the Village, this trek was a little longer. We finally arrived after 4 hours! One of our moto rentals had gear shift problems and we had to stop several times to make repairs. That slowed us down some but not near as much as the muddy conditions. We drove thru countless mud boggs along the way. I kept praying that I would not end up in the bottom of one of these with the dirt bike on top of me! God answered that prayer and we arrived home with only sore muscles and dry eyes about 8 hours later.
My good friend Dennis Welch arranged the trip and our guide Tawn kept us on the right path most of the time. As you can see, the springs were not as elaborate as the ones in Arkansas.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Coconut and Sugar Cane

We had a nice visit with Walt and Sarah but it is now time to head to airport. We felt like they had to have the full Cambodian experience so we stopped by the riverside café for a coconut and sugar cane drink! They seemed to like the coconut drink, but found out both were better when mixed! Now they are flying back to Arkansas with our hope that they will return again. Thanks Walt and Sarah for the fun time and not beating us too badly in cards! gail

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Pchum Ben

Tomorrow is the official start of a three day holiday here in Cambodia. Actually, the total observance is suppose to be for fifteen days. The Khmer people will go to seven different pagodas to give gifts in hopes of appeasing their ancestors. There are many beliefs concerning ancestor worship and keeping their spirits happy so they don't bring illness or bad luck on the family. They fear that if they don't pay respect by lighting incense or taking food to the monks on their behalf, the ancestors will get angry and cause problems. It is very stong in the Khmer culture and goes beyond Buddhism. Like so many cultures that don't have God, the Khmer people live in fear of many things. All the stores, markets, banks, and most of the restaurants will be closed until Monday. Thankfully, the airport will be open because the Eppersons fly back to states tomorrow! gail

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Loving Son

There are many things that touch the heart that we see here. This young man carried his sick mother to the ship to see the doctor. Usually the patients have to walk upstairs to check in at triage, but sometimes when someone is feeble or too sick, we bring triage to them. That is what we did here with this older women. The young man had crossed on the ferry and carried his mother to the ship. I would love to hold my mother or father in my arms again. gail

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Meet Walt and Sarah

This past week it has been great having Sarah see patients and Walt help me in triage and lots of other things! Walt and Sarah Epperson live in Searcy, Ar and are interested in mission work. Their visit falls on the Pchum Ben Holiday, so now all the crew have left (except two)and we have the ship to ourselves! But today we were able to take them into city and see some of the sights and meet other workers here since we could attend church in town. Sarah was in the first graduating class of Harding's PA school. Walt works with Eddie Cloer sending "Truth for Today" material all over the world. We are having fun getting to know them even though they keep beating us in cards. gail

Saturday, September 12, 2009

To the Market

On our last trip to Phnom, I went to the big Central market to get some things that are more difficult to get in some villages. In the picture you can see the eggs. Those are chicken eggs and easy to buy in town but duck eggs are more common in villages. The meat is both pork and beef. I ask for it cut in 1 kilo sections so I don't have to cut it up. The meat ladies must of recognized me from the last time I was there because they asked "same as before?" I think they like the quantity I buy. Hope they don't think I eat it all! Carrots, pototoes, tomatoes, beans and lettuce finish up the shopping list. I decided not to attempt another Khmer soup, just a regular vegetable beef. If the crew is hungry enough, they will eat it!

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Sorry for long delay in blogs but it has rained a lot lately. Not sure if it has anything to do with why I can't open blogger but at least the rice fields are very green! You can see that the river banks are full. Normally, this is what triage looks like with Piseth checking people in while others wait on the benches and I am at the table taking blood pressure and temperature. Then the storms start to roll in. It is time to lower the panels, move everyone to the center of the of the awning and push the water off the awning so it doesn’t tear. The people like to watch me collect water in our big buckets. I’m pretty sure they think I’m crazy. The fresh clean rain water is great for washing the rugs and rags. On the weekends if it rains, I just sit in the rain and wash the rugs. It is a great way to get it done and I get a nice shower too! I know, Rosemary, it is crazy, but just think, I don’t have to pull up so many buckets of water from the river!

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Homemade Bread and Mekong Catfish

Some of you might have seen pictures of giant catfish caught in the Mekong River. We haven’t seen any but have heard they exist. Normally, the ones we eat are about the size of these on the tray. The crew loves to eat them and they are inexpensive. I suppose if they were battered and fried, I would eat them. But that is not something that is done here (batter fish). It is just boiled in soup, or fried in grease without anything. Here is some of the bread we make. The kind in the picture is used with regular flour and a wheat mix that I get from a food warehouse. I think it would make Bill Bigham proud! Gail

Friday, September 04, 2009

Electric Nightmare

We were returning to the ship and noticed these men working on the electrical pole. At this particular intersection, a one of a kind is being built in the city. Going south from this intersection is the bridge over the Tonle Sap where the ship has to go under (and rather closely). They just completed a second bridge so the car traffic flows one way per bridge. Now they are going to make an overpass over this intersection where the traffic flows into three major roads into the city. It should be interesting and take a couple of years. When Rick was telling me this, I wondered what they were going to do with all the wiring, because in most places there are dozens of wire strung haphazardly. So I guess they are already working on it, thus the four men up the pole. gail

Thursday, September 03, 2009


We are hosting our first dental students, since returning, this week on the ship. They are the forth group to join us from the International University in Phnom Penh.
Sang Vutha and Ly Saung are both forth year students in the IU dental program. They, like most of their classmates, work part time in local dental clinics to gain experience usually as volunteers. Each had very limited experience in oral surgery before this week. Ly Saung told me yesterday, “I am no longer afraid!” I told him I was glad but to always remember that all of his patients are always afraid to some degree! Some much more than others!
It seems amazing that we have been back in Asia for over one month! Time flies when you are having fun, I guess. And for the most part, we are having fun.