Saturday, February 28, 2009

Young Workers

Check out these young guys! We see kids playing around the boat everyday, like this young one paddling by on his makeshift raft. But in the top picture, this young girl was working on cutting up fish while her parents were selling in market. Now can you imagine your 7 or 8 yr old using a big knife to cut up meat? They start very young here helping mom and dad with the daily work. I'm pretty sure these young kids are not able to go to school. The young girl and her brothers on the boat live there with at least five others that I counted and the kidswork until the others returned and then they leave for the day. gail

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Fish to the Market

They come every morning at daybreak bringing the fish to sell in the market. They tie up behind the ship and stay until 10:00 or so. They are the families that live on these boats. The crew says that they are of Vietnamese descent and are a community of several hundred here. It would be similar to the Hispanic community in America. They work hard but not all Khmer appreciate them being in their country. Instead of “across the tracks” this would be “across the water”. The ship is situated between the east side of the river and an island. The fishermen boats stay near this island and on it they have planted a field and the children play. If you can tell in the picture, the man has a phone and the glare from inside the cover is a television. The TV runs off a car battery and antennae are attached to long poles. There is a cooking area in the back where food is prepared. It is home and work together. At night you can see the boats out fishing using lanterns made from candles. It makes me think that maybe most of us don’t need as big of a house as we think we do. gail

Monday, February 23, 2009

Dedicated Reporters

Russ and Rosemary have a fifteen minute spot on their local cable station in Kennett, MO called “Time to Talk”. When they travel, they video tape their experiences to share with their viewers. In the different years they have worked in Cambodia, I’m sure they have aired many stories about the life here. I know because everywhere we go, they have the camera out! But what a video history they must have of their experiences. I had to laugh and take these pictures last Saturday when they were attempting (and succeeded) to climb the hill that we are docked in front so they could go to the bamboo factory and market. Not only did they have to climb, but they had to walk through the trash dump also located where we are. We joke about what they will do for a story, but they are dedicated to the program and take many interesting stories back home. Gail

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Medical Stories

OK….for you medical readers here are a couple of recent patient experiences we have had aboard the Ship of Life. One is from the medical side and the other dental. I promise I am not making this stuff up!
Today a man came into the dental clinic with a tooth that has been bothering him for some time. That is not unusual. What is unusual is the way he has been medicating his toothache in order to get some temporary relief. He has been treating it with acid from his car battery! He says that he places battery acid in the tooth from time to time in order to get relief. Nothing else seemed to help! Well we helped him out with the problem and hopefully he will be able to leave the caps on his battery.
The next involved a medical patient. It seems that a young man came into the clinic who was in his early twenties and although very thin seemed to be in good health. He told the Dr. that whatever he tried, he could not gain weight. A laboratory test was done and he was found to have an “amoeba” like parasite. This particular parasite was difficult to kill with medicine so the patient had to entice the parasite to open its “mouth”. The treatment involved the patient smelling a plate of beef for 15 minutes or so without eating any of it. Several hours later the parasite would open its mouth anticipating food and whammo……you take the medicine and the parasite dies. I promise, I am not making this up. It remains to be seen if the treatment will work or not but we are monitoring the patient’s progress.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Arriving Prek Po

Now that I am driving the truck from village to village, I get to see more of the countryside. Passing from Mean Chey to Prek Po was some beautiful rice fields. Fields were in different stages of growth and I have never taken time to quite understand the planting, growing and harvest process or timeline. But they are beautiful to look at. I rounded a corner and saw the ship passing by. So one of the pictures is of that scene and the other is approaching the docking area. While waiting for gangway to be put down for me to board, there was a foreign man that I visited with. He wasn't American or French, because he asked if I was French, but I didn't ask where he was from. He had been living in village across the river for nine years and had four children with his girlfriend. I didn't want to be too nosey about what he did for living and when he said he would be flying to Iran to make money to live, I for sure wasn't going to ask more! I told him we would be here a week if we could help him, so we'll see if he comes back! gail

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Planting and Harvesting

The weather in Cambodia allows year round planting of rice with one little restriction. Water! If there is water available during the 6 months of dry season, people can plant and harvest their crops year round. If no water is available then farmers must wait for the rain in June to plant their crops.
Where we are now there are some areas of year round water. We took several pictures of planting and harvesting and finally thrashing of the rice. This boy on the top of a rice stubble stack is eating a lot of dirt! Not a very good job but one someone must do. rick

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Mean Chey

The ship pulled into the village Mean Chey last Sunday. I am driving the truck now from one village to another. Usually, someone has a moto that I am following, but no one brought theirs from the city, so Piseth rode with me. We had to cross a ferry and travel through some beautiful rice fields has we went. I would have gotten some pictures, but my hands were glued to the steering wheel. I am getting more confident, but with all that can show up on the roads, you can never get too relaxed.

Monday, February 16, 2009


A nice feature of the ship is the gangplank. It is fairly important that we provide a way to get on and off. At first the ship only had some wooden planks that were laid out to cross over to the ship from land. We soon realized that it was shaky and abit dangerous. So Bill had a company build these stainless steel sections that could be raised and lowered for access. Side bars were attached for people to hold on to. I’m sure you have seen it in past pictures. Anyway, during dry dock a winch was put on top of the ship to help maneuver the plank and would help pull it up along with the crew using ropes. Before they were just using ropes. There were still some problems with lifting but Rick and Russ put their heads together and figured out a system that would hopefully turn a 20 minute procedure into 5. It worked great! Maybe alittle more than 5 minutes, but certainly a lot easier. gail

Sunday, February 15, 2009

A Bridge Too ......

We were driving thru Roka Kong recently and the bridge was backed up with quite a bit of traffic. We thought there might be an accident or something backing things up but when our turn came to go across, we found the problem.
A large and no doubt heavy truck had damaged the bridge in two places at some previous time. The boards had broken through at two different places and under the heavy load and had been “repaired” with large rough lumber. The motorcycles had problems going over the repairs and thus the backup. We made it across safely and I could hear a few sighs of relief from my fellow passengers! This bridge wasn’t too “far” but rather a little too “weak”. Rick

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Lazy Day

On weekends we try to take it easy. However, we rotate turns with the crew to be responsible to watch the ship for intruders. In all our time here, we have never had an incident, but it is something we will always do. So today was Rick’s day. After a quick trip to the market with Russ and Rosemary, Rick took his position on the outer back deck. When I passed going to the dining room, I couldn’t help get a picture of how I found him! Ha! The warm breeze and rocking ship must have lulled him to sleep! It is Valentine’s Day today and we both planned ahead by bringing each other cards from home. Then he surprised me with chocolate and I made him chocolate chip cookies. That woke him up pretty fast.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Harding T-Shirts

Russ and Rosemary were kind enough to bring the crew t-shirts from Harding. The crew loves getting new shirts especially from somewhere special. Of course, the doctor thought they said "Harvard" at first. Most of the educated have heard of Harvard and Yale. We told him Harding was a much better university since Russ and Rosemary's children and grandchildren and our children all went there! gail

Monday, February 09, 2009


This sweet little girl has a headache. I asked the mom how she knew the baby had a headache and she said because she was crying. I felt like crying yesterday because I had a horrible headache. Although instead of putting menthol on my head and tapeing over it with white tape, I took an Advil. Not sure if getting back to work gave me the headache or having to weigh in and post it on our "weight chart" since Rick and I have started a new diet. Whatever, I am better today. I was thinking that if the Advil didn't kick in and give some relief, I just might try the tape. gail

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Getting Around

When people come to visit, we want them to experience true Cambodian transportation! The medical team went for a ride in cyclos. It gets rather scary when you are sitting in front of the bicyle as the driver pedals and he moves into the lane of an oncoming car. Ask Lindsey! But the China group really went native. All five climbed into a tuk-tuk and rode out to the ship. As you can see, five foreigners can't fit too well! These two modes of transportation are cheap, yet efficient! gail

Friday, February 06, 2009

China Visitors

This past week we enjoyed a quick visit from a group of five young people from China. This time of year they get to take a month or so off for travel and we usually see a group or two in Cambodia.
We had connections with two of them. Heidi Hipp’s family attended church with us in Hot Springs Village back in the early 90’s I think. Her parents were missionaries in Tanzania Africa for several years and good friends of ours. Jessie Byrum was also with the group and a friend of our son Greg’s at Harding. Jessie is hard to miss as he is 6’10” tall and has bright red hair! He played basketball at Harding and is a delightful young man. They were joined by three other of their friends. And although we had no connection with them, they seemed like great young adults. These guys are real brave ones to move to China and teach English in a challenging environment. What great life experiences they will have to tell their grandkids about some day!


Thursday, February 05, 2009

Cambodian Silk

A special treat the team was able to see was the making of Cambodian silk. It is not as soft and of course the price is quite a bit less than Thai silk and other kinds, but at one village they were spinning and weaving the cloth at a house. I think some even had an article of clothing made so they could have something hand made from spinning to sewing. I like the colors of the silk, but not too crazy about some of the patterns. In the markets there are some beautiful scarves and table cloths that are a popular gift to take home.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Party Animals

The eye team that came with Roger from Ft. Collins did a marvelous job. The people just loved the opportunity to get glasses. It was amazing to see them walk off the ship with big smiles. The team also loved seeing their faces brighten up when they could "see"! The last evening we had dinner in the conference room with all crew, team and translators. Darith fixed a special meal. I don't have much by way of decoration, but I had picked up some party hats to make the table more festive. Needless to say, it wasn't long before the Northen boys were joking around with them! gail

Monday, February 02, 2009

Village Scenes

The team was on the ship while we were at two villages, Prek Ampil and Prek Louk. They really enjoyed walking down the main road and seeing the village life. This is picture of Prek Louk and then a picture of how the crowds had to stand on the sloping area to wait to come into ship. Both villages had difficult walks down to gangplank. gail

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Village Chief

We are in Clang Moueng now and finishing up a three day visit tomorrow. The crowds are a bit smaller, thank goodness, as we were almost overwhelmed last week! With only one MD and one DDS we still were able to see almost 120 patients today.
The Village Chief and several leaders came to the ship today and presented us with some coconuts and sugar cane. It is good to be appreciated and recognized by the leaders for helping the people of their community.