We are winding down our second full day here in Cambodia – not only was it our second whole day in the country but also the second day packed-full of activities.
After a late night of organizing meds, we were off bright and early to our first clinic location of the trip, located in a slum on the outskirts of Phnom Penh. This first clinic went as smoothly as it could, which is not only a testament to the incredible group of people we have here, but also to our phenomenal leaders, Tiffany and Caroline, who have worked tirelessly to organize the clinic. The task of creating a mobile pharmacy full of meds, coordinating a clinic that functions in two languages, and somehow keeping track of 14 medical professionals (and our translators!) is daunting to say the least, and these two women have handled it with grace and class.
I’m thankful to be a part of an organization that is intentional about remaining sensitive to our surroundings as we learn, grow, and improve our process every single time we come to aid Cambodia. It has been fun for me to see how much we have streamlined the process over the years to better serve our patients.
My line of patients at the pain & orthopedic station never dwindled, but from my corner, I could see the rest of the clinic, and all I saw were organized lines, smiling faces, and the love of Jesus shining all around. What a beautiful sight!
Afterthe clinic,we were able to visit two of the Cambodian partner organizations of Freedom’s Promise: Kone Kmeng & Precious Women. Kone Kmeng functions to empower local churches throughout Cambodia to serve the children in each of their communities through many forms of education and economic development. We were able to hear an overview of the projects that they are working on, as well as have some meetings about future partnerships for Freedom’s Healing – exciting stuff!!
Precious Women provides job training, counseling, and community to women who have left a life of working on the streets, forced prostitution, or any background of abuse and exploitation. Any time spent at Precious Women is special, but today we were honored tobe a part of their Friday night outreach. This project reaches out to girls who are still working in the beer gardens and karaoke bars around Phnom Penh. “Beer gardens” are named for the lush potted plants generally put out front of the establishment, but these places actually are thinly veiled brothels. The customers are able to pick their server and purchase her services in the adjacent private rooms.
It was in these places that the staff at Precious Women started building relationships. Instead of coming to drink and purchase sex, they ca
me to eat and talk with the girls. Watching the transformation of these girls as they are valued and treated with dignity is nothing short of amazing. There is no pressure from Precious Women, but they always offer the option to drop in to the center or join a community gathering. This outreach has led to many changed lives.
Again, you will hear about most of these things in more detail – through the eyes of those on our team who are experiencing this for the first time. But for now, I’m signing off! – Claire