This past week was a really busy one. Since my last blog, I gave out two zeros to girls that tried to use a cheat sheet during the test. It’s a heart breaking moment when you see it as a teacher and it makes me cringe that I did it as a student.
I taught my American culture class about the holiday season in
. Things like candy canes are easy enough to
understand, but they couldn’t get their heads around the concept that people
put Christmas tress inside their houses.
A bunch of kids asked me why we don’t put them outside. Even though my answer was that we decorate
them and they would be ruined outside, it didn’t really work and I think I just
confused them even more. I guess the
Christmas spirit is something that you have to see firsthand to get and can’t
be taught via powerpoint in 80 degree Cambodian heat. America
My high school English Club watched a movie about a family that survived the Khmer Rouge and escaped to
and lived in . Although the three older children were born
and the last was born in a refugee camp, they are typical Americans. The movie is about their first trip back to Cambodia in 30
years. It’s extremely powerful and the
students really enjoyed it. They are
writing letters to the woman who is the narrator and main character. It’s a documentary. We should be sending them out next week. Cambodia
On the 23rd and 24th, I brought a bunch of people to the free clinic at the orphanage that I build the hygiene station at, which was run by Canadian nurses. I brought my host family the first day and they were all given vitamins, medicine, toothbrushes, toothpaste, floss and most importantly, advice. Two of my host aunts came, as well as my host mom, host brother, host cousin, host sister and her daughter. My suspicions were correct that my niece Chun Liap has Down’s Syndrome. The nurse sat down with my host sister and told her how to care for Liap, because she will always have respiratory problems. It was a huge relief to me that they had their questions answered.
|My host mother|
|3 people in a picture is bad luck, but I do it anyway|
|They got stickers and are showing them off|
|Liap is so brave!|
|Weighing some kids|
That afternoon, I arranged for about 25 of the children from the organization that I worked with over the summer for the health workshop to come. They are the children from extremely poor families, some are orphans and some are street children. They all had pretty good health. One boy, however, has scabs all over his body and it was heart breaking because he was in so much pain but never once cried. He said that he was 9 but he looked more like 6. The nurse who looked at him was under then impression that someone has burned him and she believed that someone poured oil all over his body (that isn’t the case, however, so don’t get upset). His caretaker, who he said is his grandma, put baby powder on his scabs, which made it worse. I took him to get showered and the nurses put on Neosporin and gave him a bag of medicine to bring home. I totally lost it on the phone that night with my family because I was convinced that he was being abused and the road to getting him in a safe place would be a tough one because there is a lack of infrastructure and we don’t want to step on anyone’s toes. But, Phanet, Darlene’s coteacher who translated for the nurses and the patients said that he told her that he has been like that since birth. She remembers when she was little, many Cambodians has leprosy and she thinks that he has that. The signs are all there. He had scabs all over his body, he has already lost a few toes and his finger nails were falling off. To be honest, I thought that the world had rid itself of leprosy, but as Darlene pointed out, it’s much like polio, not common, but it still exists. So our game plan changed drastically, and for the better. We are going to talk to the director of the organization and visit the child at home and talk to his parents or grandmother about getting him the proper treatment. Leprosy treatment is free at the provincial hospital, so we are hoping to team up with the parents to make sure that he gets the treatment. It cannot be cured, but it can be halted so that he doesn’t get any worse. Lesson learned, don’t jump to conclusions, a lesson that I should have learned a long time ago, but those lessons that we learned when we were little are the most important- share, be nice to everyone, don’t jump to conclusions, work hard in school and love your family.
|The hygiene station!|
|Impromptu teeth brushing lesson at the hygiene station!|
|Ranin getting his check up|
|Vida describing his heartburn|
|Laughing and comparing weight. They asked me to step on the scale, but I refused.|
|Sampoh and Kimny talking to the doctors.|
|Christmas dinner- noodles and a sugar can juice. It costs about 75 cents.|
|Dave on guitar and Darlene on vocals.|
My health workshop was on Sunday. Although the children have been taught time and time again about hand washing and teeth brushing, the workshop was a blast. The station turned out amazing! The location is perfect, so the children must wash their hands after bathroom use, before meals and brush their teeth after meals. The most important part is the jobs assigned to the three trainees- Sothea is in charge of hand washing before meals, Sophy is in charge of keeping the toothbrushes for the small children and leading teeth brushing after meals. Rong is in charge of maintenance everyday. The goal is to make it a part of their habits so that it becomes second nature. In the meantime, those three will lead the brigade. The money that was raised went towards building the station ($450) and supplies ($50). The $50 went a really long way. The older kids had just gotten toothbrushes, so the ones that we bought for them are back-ups, for when they need a new one. The little children were also just given toothbrushes, but I thought ahead and made sure that bought a container, because the small children must return their toothbrush to Sophy after brushing their teeth because that way they will stay clean, and not lost. She is also in charge of toothpaste because the small ones don’t need much. They had a lot of fun, so to everyone who donated, THANK YOU!!!! The kids really appreciate it, and it’s so important for them because they can get sick so easily and oral hygiene is really neglected here and leads to huge problems in the future.
|Hand washing session|
|The trainers used glitter to demonstrate how easily germs can be passed and how they can only be killed with soap|
|Thanks for your help!|
|Group teeth brushing|
|Littlest guy at the center|
|The trainers and Darlene|
|The other station!|
|They each got their own toothbrush|
|The workshop staff.|
|Showing off our clean hands and teeth|
Now that my crazy two weeks are over, I will teach Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday then take a bus to Siem Reap, where I will pick my family up from the airport that night. My closest PCV friends will be in Siem Reap for New Years Eve, so we will have a blast.
I probably won’t be blogging much over until mid- January because my family will be in
I will post as many pictures and stories as possible. Cambodia
Again, to those who made a donation, I cannot thank you enough. It seems like such a minor task, but hand washing and teeth brushing are two of the most important things that I can teach these children. I really appreciate your help and I wish that you could have seen how much fun they were having and how serious they took it. I hope the pictures do it justice!