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KIDS update - The Clinic Part 2

Mar 08, 2012

Dear Friends,

We arrived at the village late afternoon on our third day of travelling. Again our landing had some bumps, as trying to park the clinic and bring alongside the towed TLC 1 (which was on it's way to Phnom Penh for repairs) had its challenges. We managed to thump into the sloped bank and tie up to some trees and bushes, finding out later we destroyed two women’s fishing nets in the process; which we payed for. We secured the four boats we were traveling with and headed on to shore to meet the villagers and look around. Travelling through Cambodia we find there are many levels of poverty; ranging from those that live a subsistence living with just enough to feed their families and send a few children to school to those that cannot feed their families but have access to some support or aid. Here on the Stung Sen we see the worst kind of poverty, where people live in terribly difficult physical conditions, have little food, no health care, no clean water and little support, misery and survival are the words that can describe this type of poverty.


We walked through the dried mud village, where many naked and half clothed children wandered carrying younger siblings. We met some of the families, their homes barely covered with thatch or tarps and not adequate to fend off the hoards of insects or the rain. Most of the land disappears in the rainy season adding another challenge for these families as they have to find ways to float their homes for several months. The one school is on high enough ground that it can keep its doors open at least 7 months of the year but the flooding waters are slowly breaking down the structure and this year, with the worst flooding in fifty years, the water was knee deep in the classrooms. The people greeted us cautiously and were happy the clinic was back with a new more permanent facility. The children, as always were excited to meet new people. After a short walk we headed back on board the clinic and our hearts were heavy with the situation these people face.


A little later a woman came to visit us, through an interpreter she told us how her husband had drowned during the floods, leaving her with ten children. It took the community a few days to find his body, she wanted to have her husband cremated as is customary here however she could not afford this and so they tied a rock to his waist put his body in a sack and and sunk him at the mouth of the river, she hopes one day she can retrieve his bones for a proper cremation and ceremony. Cambodian people don’t often cry but as she told us the story tears silently streamed down her face, while some of her small children sat quietly at her feet. As our funds were low we could only help to repair her house with some thatch and buy her a fishing net so she could try and feed her children.

After a couple more very hot and insect filled nights we arose on Thursday to get ready for the first clinic upon the new facility. We were all busy preparing the final touches and setting up for the medical team. The team arrived around 8:00 am and immediately started bringing on board medicine, etc. The people from the area had started arriving about 7:00 am and sat patiently waiting. It took the team about 10 hours to get to the clinic by bus, motorcycle, small boat and larger boat, they are truly dedicated and committed people. The registrar took the patients family information and then sent them on to the nurse who did an initial examination of vitals and listened to their presenting issues, if warranted they then moved on to Dr. Sombun (see attached photo) or to Mum, the midwife. 


After the patients were examined the nurse/midwife dispensed the needed medication. All morning we watched the people come and go, all very grateful to have this clinic and free health care. Chatting with the patients as they waited they told us of their health struggles and how much the TLC meant to them and to their children. As one woman said “before The Lake Clinic when we get sick we die, now we have a chance”. We were really impressed with the organisation, empathy and professional service the team provides to this community. Sitting amongst the crying babies, elderly women and others we could feel both their concern and relief. Although there are many hardships here we still had some good laughs with those waiting. Having a private examination room gives both dignity and privacy for the patients. TLC also plans to vaccinate for TB, measles and implement a mothers club to improve the health of infants and children.

Lack of clean water is a significant issue in this area as there are no wells or water filters. One man found one of our empty water bottles on the deck and quickly took it put it in the river and filled it with the turbid and dark looking water for his small child. The medical staff explained how this is what is making his son sick. TLC plans to bring health education to the people here now that they have the mobile clinic.

As we we are now very pressed for time we had to leave in the afternoon (see attached photo of team waving goodbye). We were disappointed we could not travel further up river with the team to see the other villages they serve so we decided to take a boat to the nearest city and then go on to our next destination, Stung Treng, where we would visit our other projects . Travelling this way would give us the opportunity to see the other six villages that The Lake Clinic and the mobile floating clinic would assist. On this journey we had two Board members with us and we want to thank Robyn Kemp and Rita Douglas for taking the time to come here from Canada to see and support the projects that K.I.D.S. is involved with.

The Lake Clinic brings health care and hope to people living in these forsaken and forgotten communities. Compassionate Eye, in partnership with K.I.D.S., has been able to provide this admirable and dedicated team of people a comfortable, clean and safe place to live while delivering quality health care and education to these isolated communities.

We thank Compassionate Eye for believing in and supporting this project; as they say on their website: "one day, one world, one goal", we thank our donors for continuing to support K.I.D.S. "to create better futures for children and families" and we especially thank the The Lake Clinic for their commitment to "serving the underserved".

"In Partnership"
Adrianne and Rick





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