This clinic was a hard clinic. Everyone was tired and hot and grumpy, and we had a few off sick. This clinic was also both sad and happy. I have mentioned in previous blogs about village relocation. In this one I am going to tell you what I learned from Kevin Knight. He lives in this village with the locals and has done a lot of hard work to help build what they have.
Prior to the clinic being opened he sat us all down and spoke to us about how the Village came to be. Before that though I need to tell you a bit of history (as I heard it from Kevin).
When Pol Pot was in control of Cambodia he destroyed all documentation including land titles. After the war, people settled where they could. When larger banks started to reinvest in Cambodia they told the Government that land titles were needed again. From what I understand, if you could prove that you have lived where you are for more than 5 years then the land would be considered yours. Of course this can be hard for many of the poor. Even those that could proove it were and are not guaranteed the land is theirs. Especially if it is on prime real estated that foreign investors have an interest in.
Some of the people in this Village were in a similar situation. They were in negotiation over the land for a measly sum of $15,000. The land is apparently worth $44 million. In the middle of the night, bulldozers and police came to evict them and no money was given. Kevin was there and he broke down as he remembered that night. Children screaming in the streets, people running to get what little posessions they had. They were then dumped 20km out of Phnom Penh in a field. Some, but not all were give minimal shelter. There was no access to work, medical help, and schools.
Kevin is the co founder of Mannah4Life. Through donations they have been able to buy plots of land in the area the villagers were dumped. They have built homes and a school. They have a farm set up where they raise chickens and grow food.
I asked what was to stop the government from doing the same thing again as many of these people had been relocated up to 3 times. He said that there wasn't. Even with the fact that they had bought land and had the paperwork that there was no guarantee. The only benefit is that it is so far out of the city that it is not worth anything to them.
When I was in Cambodia in 2009 they had just closed down the tip. I believe the new tip is close to this Village now. While we were running the clinic, huge rubbish trucks came through regularly. The road is not wide and there are kids running everywhere. These trucks do not seem to slow down (or so it felt from inside).
Before I go on about our visit please take time to watch the below video as well as take a look at the Mannah4Life website here: http://www.loveglobal.com/project/project.aspx?asset=884
This video appears to be a combination of many recordings on the day. It is worth watching through to the end.
Please note that in order to go on this trip every person needed to raise $1000. This was to help with medical supplies, visits to hospital if required, and to purchase land. I think we purchase 4 blocks of land for this village.
This clinic left me feeling like I was being pulled in all directions but not able to do anything constructive. People were appearing in places they shouldn't have been and the building was really hot. There was a nice breeeze if the windows were left open but apparently there is an old superstition about sitting in front of an open window, which meant that where we had chairs, the windows were eventually closed.
Mary from She Rescue getting in for a cuddle
Kids looking in from the outside as we set up
Only half the nurse's supplies
We were in the new school building so the builders of our team were put to work outside to add some planter boxes.
The inside triage line
Those outside waiting to come in. The two headless blokes are our crowd control at the front door.
Triage in the back ground and blood pressure with Mary in the foreground
Wide view of Triage.
This is Kevin with one of the older men of the Village. I was about to take the man somewhere when Kevin started to tell me his story:
About 18 months ago the shanty village that this man was living in, caught fire. He ran in and out of shanties trying to get everyone out. People started running back in to get their valuables. He decided to do the same. He had $5 and I think it was a watch that he was looking for. The roof was on fire and it collapsed on him. He managed to get himself into a big water pot but the heat made it become unbearable. In bear feet he managed to get out of the rubble, across burning debris and collapse on the road. I don't know how, but he made his way to the hospital with third degree burns all over his body. They would not admit him because he was poor. He sat on the hospital steps for around a week. Kevin heard about him and asked ICC to help. He was admitted to hospital, got the treatment he needed and now lives in the relocated village.
The photo is not a good one but he is showing off the burns on his arms.
A little fun before lunch
It took him ages to blow this up and tie it off. He was sooo proud of himself when he finally did it.
Another Chhorvy photo bomb. I cut her head off ... mwahahahaha
A lunch time walk to Kevin's house (to use the squat pot) I took some shots along the way. In the background you will see a big water pot (like the one the old man jumped into.
I am sure Kevin had something to do with this set up. :)
After lunch, word has got around about the clinic and the line outside gets longer
One of Twins
Here's the twins with mum
The twins with me. I am normally good with kids but in Cambodia I think I scared them. Notice the rings and bangles on the little guys (yes boys).
Clinic is over and everyone is happy.
Sleepy heads on the way home.
Back at the hotel waiting for his ride home our little translator gets creative with his hair.
On our way to finally pick up my 3 pairs of new pants I took some images of the traffic. View from the Tuk Tuk. There is an intersection up ahead so bikes cars and moto's are going every which way possible.
This quick video I took does not do the traffic justice
At dinner I think we confused out waiters. Every now and then little signs like this one would pop up. LOL