I’m pleased to say that the eye infection is slowly resolving. The eye drops and the antibiotics are thankfully doing the trick and I’m definitely feeling less anxious about it all. By lunchtime the eye had started to open again and so I was able to head over to the Centre to do some work.
It never fails to amaze me how the Cambodians are able to regulate their body temperature so well! One of the Cambodian teachers (very effeminate young man) walked in today wearing jeans, a jumper and a scarf (see very blurry photo below) and I broke out
in a sweat just looking at him. I mean, I understand that the
Cambodians are a modest people but a scarf???? It reaches 35
degrees here during the day!!!!
This afternoon I got the chance to meet a few more of the kids.
They are so beautiful. Despite their background and let me tell you, each one of their stories is heartbreaking, they are happy, content, full of spirit and essentially, children. I had lunch by the pool this afternoon and not far from me was a western family with two young kids and for the whole hour I was there, all they did was nag and cry and I couldn’t help but compare their behavior to the kids at the Centre who are only reduced to tears when they fall over or
somehow hurt themselves. These kids make you feel like being a kid again and there’s not one that passes me and doesn’t flash me then most heartwarming smile, say hello and ask my name.
We come to these countries with the hope of somehow leaving them with something to better their lives but as I started to learn last year and continue to learn now is that these humble children are richer in spirit and life than most people I have come across.
As it stands, there are 127 kids in the orphanage, ranging from newborn to early 20’s. Approximately 30 kids are HIV positive and some of those have tuberculosis. There are 4 kids with disabilities that are pretty severe and unfortunately, the orphanage isn’t equipped to deal with them.
One of the main objectives, apart from housing these kids and some of their mothers, is to implement a program which prevents mother to child transmission of HIV. This is done by the in-house nurse who at the moment happens to be a 23 year old nursing student from Adelaide named Melissa and can I say, this girl is brilliant. She’s been here for 2 months and has made some many changes to the protocols and identified a number of holes in the Centre which she’s working to patch up but unfortunately her time here ends next week. She heads back to Adelaide to finish her final year and sit for an exam to get into medicine.
I took a few hours to go through the files of the 4 kids with disabilities and determine what assessments and programs had been implemented by previous volunteers. Tomorrow I’ll get a chance to observe the programs being out into action by one of the staff members and then I’ll be able to advise about how things can be improved. One of then other goals I hope to achieve while I’m here is to create a protocol for Volunteer Health Professionals to ensure continuity in the service that is given by the different volunteers that come into the centre because as it stands, there is no way of gauging what past volunteers have done because record keeping is a shambles here!
Anyway, night night. Going to try and head to the gym in the morning to counteract all the noodles and rice.
Peace out xxx