I did not think I would see things in Cambodia on this trip that would shock me. I was most certainly wrong there. The morning of Jan 16 we headed to one of the local hospitals. I am not quite sure on how the hospital is run as far as care goes so this is just my observations.
Facts I do know is that Pethidine and Morphine are rare so most patients that come in with broken limbs etc and need metal pins in their legs, have it done under a local. Drs earn $5 a day.
Many of the people in the hospital were there due to traffic accidents (mainly moto's : scooters). If you do not have family to look after you then from what I understand you don't get looked after.
ICC is working with the hospital in many ways. One way is putting some of the ICC Uni students to work to assist the patients who do not have family help. This also helps the students become more independent as well. These same students had been our translators and today they were our bosses. Yes this meant mum and I were under the control of Chhorvy.
Not all the students are studying nursing. Others were studying to become a Lawyer, an Accountant, a teacher and one was studying English.
Our role was to wash the patients hair if they wanted it. We had collected shampoo each day from the hotel and handed it out while we used large tubes. Mum had also brought a heap of chap sticks to hand out. She got inundated.
This is me and Chhorvy. We really should have had his head hanging off the edge of the bed.
The little girl in blue was scared of me until I showed her a photo I took of her. Then she wanted lots of photos. These two were not patients.
The black mat under his head is the hair washing mat.
No painkillers for this.
Another photo bomb by Chhorvy. :) Those combs were useless.
This ladies hair touched the floor. It was hard to comb it. She is the only woman in this room. It is a large room and has 8 beds. The rest were filled with men.
This guy is getting his hair washed. Check out the contraption to keep his leg up. Just note that there are no glass in the windows in the hospital. Only shutters keep the elements at bay as well as two open corridors on either side of the room.
A close up
Towards the end Chhorvy gives mum a lesson in how to pop the lid off your water bottle.
Guess who we found. This is the boy from the day before. We didn't think he would get here because his mum was so scared to leave the island. The photo doesn't show it but his mum did have a big grin on her face.
In case you were wondering, some of our T-Shirts arrived that morning which is why a lot of us are wearing the same one.
Apparently the last group that helped out at the hospital had to clean the toilets and it was not nice (backed up real bad). I think we got of nice and easy.
Lunch was at a place called Daughters. It also has a small shop and beauty spa attached to it. Around the corner was a shop called Friends. Both of these places are set up to help those who need to get off the street. This is what is on the back of the tags when you purchase something from Daughters: "Daughters of Cambodia empower victims of sex-exploitation to set themselves free from the sex industry. A job in the sewing room at Daughters is the mechanism by which they exit the sex industry, supplemented by a range of support and therapeutic programs which equip them with internal resources and teach sustainable skills in functional living."
After lunch if we wanted to, we could get a tour of Daughters. Mary, who had been helping us with clinics also offered for us to go to where she worked. It is a place called She Rescue. Here they take in children off the street. In 2009 I had met Mary's predecessor so mum and I opted to go there.
We just went to the office and sat and spoke to other volunteers there. They will take in girls who had been rescued from prostitution, had been raped, or may be in a situation where this sort of thing could happen. A saying in Cambodia is that Men are like gold (ie they can be polished) but women are like white cloth (ie once dirty always dirty). She Rescue is trying to change this attitude.
Families are important in Cambodia and everyone in the family must work to help support the family. In many cases this means that a child can be sold into prostitution. Unfortunately many young girls (I am talking pre teenager) say they are willing to be sold if it helps the family. They have no idea what they are getting into.
What She Rescue does is educate the girls so that they will be useful in earning money for the family in other ways. Sometimes this may mean relocating the entire family to another village so that the girls past is unknown and she can start fresh (otherwise she would never get a husband).
Not all can go back to their families though. Not long before we arrived in Cambodia one girl was days away from going home. She Rescue found out that her mother already had a buyer in line for her.
Another story we heard was of a young 10 year old. Her mother was in prison and she was being looked after by her Grandmother. She was set to work selling things on the Riverfront. There are so many kids out there selling things from food to books. She was raped by a gang of boys more than once. When her Grandmother found out she decided she may as well sell her into prostitution. She was after all, spoiled. She would take her to hotel rooms in secret. I don't know how she was rescued from this but I am so glad that she has been.
You can find out more about She Rescue here : http://sherescuehome.org/
and more about Daughters here: http://daughtersofcambodia.org/
After our visit we headed off to Bloom Cafe again (remember those yummy cakes). Bloom is similar to Daughters and you can find their website here: http://www.bloomasia.org/
Standard street view.
Sopheavy needing another Vitamin B injection I think. She could sleep anywhere.
Enjoying cakes and oreo shakes.
Mum and I stuffed ourselves at Bloom and really did not feel like going out for dinner. Dinner was on the Riverside so we tagged along and decided to go for a massage instead. Before we did we thought we would have a look around.
Not far from the restaurant was the Palace. The King passed away in December and they have a 3 month mourning period. His Mausoleum was all lit up and apparently after his cremation, it gets knocked down. The Palace itself was also all lit up but undergoing a lot of renovation for the final days of mourning.
The street was crowded with peddlers selling images of the late King and the street in front of the Mausoleum was blocked to traffic.
Not bad without a tripod hey.
We did a little shopping and found a chemist to get some stuff for mum's cough. We then found a massage place. $7 for one hour foot massage. The "foot" consists of everything below the knee. At the end they get you to sit on the stool your feet were on and do your back for 5 minutes. The girl massaging me must have thought I was very tight because the next think I knew she had her knees in my back and was stretching me back over top of them when my back suddenly cracked 3 times. She was so shocked she nearly fell of her seat. I on the other hand had thoroughly enjoyed it and hadn't felt so loose in a long time.
Now for something that has happened today which is tearing away at my heart and had me in tears all day. My little dog Bo is currently under observation at the vets. We don't know what is wrong with her but her eyes are bulging and she can't walk. I am dreading a phone call tomorrow to say we have to put her down. The vet has warned us. I am praying so hard that she won't be taken from us so soon. She is a little darling.