As the warmth of the early morning sun broke through the waning darkness of the night, we drove 180 kilometers from Siem Reap to Battambang. Salaa Hope School was our first stop and our first grouping of our medical team in action. Not to worry. Within 30 minutes we were up and running seeing about 100 patients in the first 1 and a quarter hour. The children all looked healthy and in fact they were. Salaa Hope is the school where we built our first medical clinic in 2004 and is staffed by Chhaiden who is our country medical director. In 2005 I trained 15 teachers to be healthcare workers, and Chhaiden showed a unique knack for the vocation. We sent him away to medical school. A physician, who had traveled with us several times, sponsored his medical school tuition and today, Chhaiden is responsible for the healthcare of the 3000 One Child Matters children in Cambodia. From 2004 until now, a medical clinic, over 8 Medical Mercy trips, 15 healthcare workers trained (9 who are still here), and a Country Medical Director are in place: true sustainable care.
In the afternoon we went to Prey Dach School where there were another few hundred children to see. No electricity, sweltering heat, some minor technical problems with our new electronic medical records, led to some delays, but once we got going, we got going.
So what about a story? Well, sorry, there isn’t one. But there is an observation. Lots of smiling faces, lots of laughs and lots of love…from the children and back at them from the team. Remembering that the expectation isn’t what we bring, but what we leave behind, I looked at the team and the children throughout the day, and saw much of what we left behind. It’s always the little things that bring the biggest rewards. Despite the heat, and I mean heat, I think we accomplished what we came here to do. Perhaps one day I’ll be able to verify that, but for now, I’ll just go with my heart.
In all things give thanks,