Mid-way through the clinic, energetic volunteers have completed care on the first of two populations scheduled for treatment in our Cambodian dental clinic.
Now comes the tricky part, getting the next set of children on the docket to the clinic. Logistics we seldom consider back home become real barriers to providing care here in the developing world.
Schools neither have their own buses nor access to a borrowed one. Most families in Cambodia do not own a car and it is too far to the dental clinic by the most common mode of transportation – a bike. Enter Bunny, one of our volunteer local partners: he swiftly takes off with the van meant 2015-01-26 09.46.24for volunteers and returns thirty minutes later – it’s stuffed to the brim with children! As kids pour out of the van, Bunny hops out, grinning from ear to ear: “we have the kids!”
When not organizing the patient plan for our dental clinics, Bunny – a 32 year old Cambodian who works for a local non-profit, HUSK – is busy in the clinic. He jets around outside, teaching Cambodian and US volunteers the ropes, managing oral health education and generally ensuring that total chaos does not erupt as more than a 2015-01-26 08.30.25 HDRhundred children pass through the clinic each day. Today he is working with Dorn and Pat McClory – who is on her third trip with GDR – deftly guiding them through the patient check-out and record keeping process.
Dorn, another Cambodian volunteer who works at the Shinta Mani hotel, stops me as I pass by, “Miss Kim, you have given me the most valuable experience of my life, the chance to help my people. I will always be grateful for this time. Your care, the care of your volunteers has touched my heart and the hearts of the Cambodian people.”
And so the days here continue – with GDR volunteers hard at work and Cambodian partners laying the ground work to allow that effort to permeate the lives of these special children. One cannot exist without the other. As I reflect on the week I realize that my heart too is filled, witnessing firsthand people from different cultures come together with a common purpose, to improve the lives of Cambodian children.