Thursday, April 30, 2009

School Time

Two nights each week Gail teaches a beginning English class to four of our crew members. She had their undivided attention one night this week when I took this snap shot.
I teach WEI English lessons to four other crew members while she is teaching. Ours is a more advanced class requiring each student to be able to read and comprehend on an intermediate level. We use the story of the Bible taught over a six month to one year time frame. Tomorrow nights lesson is on the call of Abraham.
Tomorrow night Gail will probably teach something along the line of “Jack and Jill went up the hill”! All of us are having a good time. rick

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Breakfast is Ready!

As we have shared many times in the past the crew has rice with every meal every day. For breakfast the cook will prepare some type of meat or soup to eat with the rice. This morning we had a new addition to the menu. Crickets.
At certain times of the year we have a bumper crop of crickets invade the ship. Now is one of those times. Several of the crew went about collecting the little buggers this last weekend and we had them for breakfast this morning. Baked chicken with assorted salad veggies and crickets on the side.
After I had my regular bowl of cereal, I popped one of the fried crickets in my mouth and to my surprise, it wasn’t too bad! I offered one to Gail and she just turned her nose up at me. She is still experiencing culture shock I think. Rick

Monday, April 27, 2009


I recently met with the assistant Dean at one of the local dental schools in Phnom Penh. He is from New Zealand and he inquired as to whether we might be able to take some of the students on the ship for a type of mini oral surgery internship.
We agreed to give it a try and this week we have our first group aboard. Their names are SoVann and Vet. We had a great time today getting acquainted with each other and finding out what they did and didn’t know. They had both performed about 10 simple extractions so far in school and were eager to get more practical experience. Boy did they come to the right place.
The problem that the school has is that they have to charge the patients for each visit. So many are so poor that the school cannot attract enough patients for the students to learn on. We, of course, have pretty much unlimited access to patients so that is a pretty good fit. SoVann and Vet had some early jitters but soon were in the groove and not only took out many teeth but learned some new local anesthetic techniques. By the end of the week they will practically be Oral Surgeons! At least they will be more confident in their school clinic. I hope I do not teach them too many bad habits! rick

Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Rains Have Begun

It rained yesterday. I like it when it rains because the water feels so fresh. It doesn’t always cool the air, but usually there is a wind that is welcome. There was an article in the Cambodian Daily about the rains coming early this year. They decided the rainy season has officially started therefore it will end early. No matter when the rainy season starts and ends it makes for difficult times for the people coming and going from the clinic. But like yesterday, when it rains is a good time to wash rugs. Normally, we pull water from the river and it has a brown tint to it. So the fresh rain water makes me feel like the rugs will be cleaner. It is probably all in my head, and Rick laughs as me when I sit in the rain scrubbing rugs, but it is easier than pulling buckets up out of the river. Rosemary will appreciate that! Only negative is the fact that ten people have already been killed by lightning this season. Sorry no picture with this. I wouldn’t let Rick take one especially after he accused me of trying to be in a wet t-shirt contest.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Report for Ministry of Health

Every month the Ministry of Health in Kampong Cham province has a meeting of medical NGOs in the area and also Health center personnel. Rick has attended several of these meetings and comes back saying he really doesn’t care to return. The majority of the meeting is in Khmer. But, I encourage him to represent the ship and how good it is to support the local health people. I have changed my mine. I went with him this past week because he was going to present a report about the ship and I was going to work the power point show. Rick did a great job and his dental assistant, Daven, translated. It was also a relief for the computer and projector to work properly! After his 15 minute presentation, another Khmer man from USAid gave his report. It was in Khmer, but didn’t last too long. Just when I thought, “ok, this isn’t so bad”, the Director of the Ministry, who we give our monthly reports to and get our village schedule from, proceeded to talk for another 50 minutes. It is amazing how phones go off and people just answer them and talk during all of this. People got up and walked to the toilet or outside to talk, or get a bottle of water. I decided the Director just liked to hear himself talk because not many of the people seemed to listen! So, I will not push Rick to attend anymore unless he wants to! gail

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Family Prayers

Sometimes it takes growing up to appreciate your siblings. I have been blessed to have my two brothers and sister to live in same city with my family. During these years of family gatherings, you learn a respect for them as adults and not just because they are your family. Now that our parents are both gone, we want the bond to continue to strengthen. My brother, Lance, and his wife, Shelly, have a son Cody. He has just recently been diagnosed with a rare form of liver cancer. The good news it that the doctors feel like they can remove the infected part of the liver. Please keep the family in your prayers. Cody’s surgery is in Little Rock on May 6. Cody is to graduate from Arkansas Tech in May and has a great future in front of him. His sister, McKayla, is a sophomore at York College in Nebraska. I couldn’t ask for a better sister-in-law than Shelly to take of my brother. So, please keep them in your prayers. Gail


The other day I worked on Me. Oh, I know what you are thinking. He must have had a terrible toothache and had to do his own extraction looking in a mirror. NO it was nothing that dramatic.
We asked all of our patients their name and he told Gail his name was Me. I can think of all kinds of funny things to say to a guy named Me. Brings back memories of Laurel and Hardy’s skit, “Whose on First”. What is your name? Who Me? Yes you. Me. Yes you! Do you mean Me? Yes, I did not ask you for someone else’s name! Maybe it would be better to be a boy named Sue! rick

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Guest House Blooper

Driving into Phnom Penh from the north we pass numerous hotels and “guest houses”. Many have catchy names to attract the foreigners attention and business interest. We have stayed in the “Mountain Girls and Mountain Boys” guest house on several occasions. I guess that would catch the eye of “mountain” people from Arkansas! Many guest houses have misspelled English names.This one guest house caught my eye recently. It is the 666 Guest House. Now I do not know about you but I would not want to stay overnight in Satan’s Guest House! I doubt the owner knows the significance of 666. Maybe I will stop in and tell him some day if I have time. If he has horns, a tail, and a pitchfork, it will be a short conversation! rick

Monday, April 20, 2009

Kampong Cham City

We are back on the ship and back to work. Just like after every holiday, we feel like we need to come back to rest! Actually the trip was not so tiring and enjoyed it very much. We certainly have some dos and don’ts for future adventures! It was good to see the crew and it appears they all had a good time with their families. This holiday is like our Christmas and birthdays and New Years all rolled into one. Everyone is a year older and they share gifts or food. We are in Kampong Cham City which is a good place to restock our cooler with vegetables and freezer with meat before we head up farther North. Joel and Chloe Bond who are from Australia and volunteer at a girl’s rescue mission organization came to ship to visit. It was good to see them. Last year, they worked on ship with us a week. Thanks for reply about our “travelogue” blogs! For the next few villages, however, we are docked on west side of river which has the better roads! Gail

Saturday, April 18, 2009

A Good Man

Over four years ago when Gail and I first came to visit Cambodia we met Dr Someth Hong. He was the current President of the Cambodian Dental Association. He was a real gentle man.
Dr. Someth has helped me in many ways over the years. He has helped me to refer patients to local hospitals. He has helped me with finding dental supplies and other related items. He has worked on numerous teachers from the US with dental problems. He has invited me to local dental society meetings and into his home for dinner on special occasions. He has, in short, been a good friend.
This last week he invited Gail and me to an open house for his new dental office. Before, he practiced in his home with kids and family living in and around his practice. He now has an ultra- modern office space with new equipment and double the number of operatories. I told him it reminded me of my move in 1995 to a new office with larger and greater opportunities for expansion. His wife reminded me of Gail as she worried how they would pay for it!
We wish our good friend and his family the best of luck in the future. Someth Hong is truly a good man.

Friday, April 17, 2009


Good Morning Vietnam! We started the day with an interesting breakfast. The small guest house that we found included breakfast, but cake and rice just didn't work well. So out we went to the coffee shop we found the first day! We did the walking tour from the Old Town to Ho Chi Minh's museum and burial place. I don't know how far we walked but we were out about five hours. The pagoda in the pictures is called the "One Column Pagoda" for obvious reasons. As you can see, the streets were narrow and crowded. I guess that is what I didn't care for. Motos parked on the sidewalks, so you had to walk in the streets. Back to Saigon in morning and bus back to Phnom to hopefully be at PIP house to stay overnight before heading back to ship. gail

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

It's My Birthday and....

I will cry if the Rangers lose this one!!!! We are in Hanoi Vietnam for my 53rd birthday and I am listening to the Rangers radio broadcast on the internet! When I got online, we were behind 3-1 and headed for a sixth straight defeat. In only a few minutes, however, the score was 13-3 and i feel much better now. If we lose this one I will know for sure that we are truely in for a long season! Oh well, I have lost the radio signal for the moment but that is the life of an international listener. The communist may be interupting the signal! Rick


Just wanted to thank all you for sending birthday wishes. Had a good time diving and now after all night train ride have arrived in Hanoi. It is good to be in hotel again! gail

Monday, April 13, 2009

It's My Birthday and........

I went scuba diving in Vietnam. We have a week off due to the Cambodian New Year being celebrated this week. We have thought about for some time seeing more of Vietnam while we are on this side of the globe so that is what we are doing.
We left PP Sunday morning for a 5 hour bus trip to Saigon. When we got to the najor ferry crossing at Neak Leaung, it was so crowded we were going to miss our connections for the whole day so we had to improvise.
We abandoned the bus we were traveling on a crossed the ferry on foot. We then rented a van to carry us to the border and went thru customs etc. We then caught another van to Saigon and made our connections with an hour to spare.
We have been told that a good way to see Vietnam is to take a train from Saigon in the south all the way to Hanoi in the north. That takes 48 hrs so we will break that up with two stops along the way.
We are now in Nah Trang, a seaside beach resort of sorts on the South China sea. We went diving this morning and althought the visibility was less than ideal, we saw a large assortment of corral life and some wonderful sea life including a very large cuttle fish and a very nice lion fish. The crew were very talented and safety oriented, Mom!!!
We had dinner tonight a the Texas BBQ and Steak House in Nah Trang! The American who owns it lived in Ft Worth for a while and is from Memphis origonally. The BBQ ribs came with corn on the cob, cold slaw, potato salad, garlic toast, and baked beans. Best of all it tasted great! What a nice surprise. We topped it off with a wonderful apple cobbler with ice cream. So far so good for the trip and Gail's big day. She is 52 today!
Tomorrow we leave for Danang and Hue the ancient capitol of Vietnam during the Neugen Dynasty. Britt told us to call if she needed to send the national gaurd of help. I told her last time we were here we didn't do so well! Will continue the story later. Kind of looks like Ho Chi Minh with those white wiskers huh?

Friday, April 10, 2009

On the Road Again... Wait What Road?

Ok, I will stop writing about my travels because they are getting a bit redundant, but I couldn't help but put this last pics on. We left Kompang Reab and after a few muddy lanes came to some seseme fields. We literally drove through the fields. Not sure where the road went to. It was beautiful and enjoyable. Then came the the scary part. After driving through some trees we came to the riverside and could see the ship. The road, however, had gotten narrower and I was feeling a bit nervous. Piseth encouraged me forward and finally made it to Peam Pra Thruch. I remembered this village from last year because we sat and had tea with the man whose house is where the ship docks. He was happy to see us too, because he wanted another tooth extracted. gail

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Swimming Hole

Our favorite pastime is watching the daily bathing behind the ship. These kids are having fun with the dog while big brother and dad wash down the horse and cows. But I got a hankering to make a pie, so I boiled the pumpkin and called Memaw for a recipe. It turned out pretty good. Rick was even impressed! ha! gail

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Blog Response

After writing yesterday about opening day in Major League Baseball, I got several anonymous responses. One especially caught my eye. The writer suggested that God was definitely an Angels fan!
I find it hard to argue with that one! I suspect that this person is a serious Angels fan. I think she could even be one of John Lakey’s family who are lifetime close friends of Gail’s. Just a guess. I would definitely be the fan of any team that my son was the #1 starter for!!! Maybe even if it was the Yankees! rick

Monday, April 06, 2009

A Big Day

Tomorrow is an exciting day for me. Anyone who is a baseball fan gets excited about the opening day of Major League Baseball!
My beloved team the Texas Rangers play their first game of the 2009 season tomorrow at 1:05 p.m. CST. Boy would I like to be there to watch it! Maybe someday there will be instant transportation from one point on earth to the next like Star Trek or something. But now it would take me too long to come and go so I will simply wait for the results.
I told Gail today that I sure wished God was a Rangers fan. I asked her and she said it was not irreligious to wish this. He cares about little things like sparrows and baseball I am sure. If He was a Rangers fan we would win all 162 games I guess. We would never have to worry going into the bottom of the 9th down by 10 runs even with two outs and no one on base. We would come through if He wanted us to. I wouldn’t even mind an occasional loss unless it was to the Yankees!

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Horse Power

In many of the villages, we see motorized vehicles pulling trailors or equipment. There are some modern equipment being used here, but the majority is still the horse or cow method. When we arrived here, there was a caravan of these trailors behind the smaller horses used to pull them. The trailors were filled with boards for building a house. They had been offloaded from a boat we docked near and hand carried to take to wherever their destination might be. gail

Friday, April 03, 2009

Burly Nights

We told you we now stay sometimes at the world famous Burley Hotel in Phnom Penh when we go into town. For $13 a night it is not bad at all. Staying there last week I noticed a sign on the wall that was somewhat amusing. I am sure they meant not to throw your “trash” out of the window! We also tried to whisper when we talked. rick

Thursday, April 02, 2009


My niece, McKayla would be proud of my mudding skills when traveling from Peam Chi Kong to Kompong Reab. We had to cross the ferry and drive on the east side of the river. The ferry guy asked me to back down next to a bigger truck not knowing if I could even fit. I think I impressed them with my backing skills! ha! I knew the road on the east side wouldn't be as good but I was not expecting driving through a field with a low spot full of mud. Piseth and Daven were with me and I'm sure their hearts were pounding as I burned rubber and just about flipped the truck. Ok, that is extreme, but I wasn't about to get stuck in the mud mess. The rest of the way was slow but uneventful. Leaving the truck at a house near the road we walked to the river and it was a great relief to see the ship docking! gail