Today was probably the highlight of many of my trip. We set out in the morning from Siem Reap through many, many rice fields…past many motos, cows, and water buffalos and a bit off the beaten path into a small village called Chong Kal where we watched Cambodian volunteers perform a drama that teaches the community about how to recognize signs of illness and what to do about when they see these symptoms. Often times, people in these remote communities will turn to a local “pharmacist” who has access to medicine but no medical training. They may also seek a witch doctor. The hopeful result is that they go to the local health center for good medical care.
I loved seeing the faces of the people in this remote community…women, children, worn older men…they were all participating and laughing at this local community activity. It reminds me that a portion of global health which I saw as “less important” (training people versus actually providing care) is such an awesome sustainable activity. If we were unable to provide any further help in that community, they have been trained on healthy behaviors that are life saving and sustainable. I love the fact that the entire education drama was conducted by Cambodian volunteers who care about others in their community.
I can see these volunteers joining the circle of “teams”…these are people throughout the world…Redmond, Monrovia, Tigard, Les Cayes, Chong Kal…who care enough about the needs of others to step up and make a difference.
The pictures of this small, rural village will tell the story…ask me to see some.
From Chong Kal, we went to the health center where we refer members of the community. Here, we saw an MTI staff member providing training to the staff members. You could begin to see this health program coming full circle…training the community members and then training the staff at the center. We then met with the Provincial Health Department Deputy Director, Dr. Tu. Dr Tu helped us to build this health program and is a key partner in ongoing measurement of its success. We also visited the MTI field office in Samraong and met with the local staff who are awesome….and all five of them share office space much smaller than your living room!