Thursday, July 24, 2008


I am proud to say that I made it nearly 3 full months living in Cambodia without getting sick.


We got on the bus from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh on Monday and I noticed my stomach felt a bit funny. I attributed this to a mid-morning snack of Pringles and salted cashews (I am terribly healthy). The feeling lingered throughout the day, never getting worse (even despite eating lunch at KFC), yet never entirely subsiding either. I went to bed that night feeling not so great and over the course of the next 2 days developed a close relationship with both our bathroom and our bed. I was quite grateful to be at home in my own bed while sick, with a very kind man I am married to who took good care of me. The exciting part of it all (aside from sleeping more than I was awake) was that because I couldn’t keep any liquids down (these are the details people want to know) I got to have my first I.V. I am so brave.

We are quite fortunate to have doctors on staff here who make sure we are all staying healthy (and hydrated). Along the way Josh got a crash course in nursing from our doctor who confidently informed him that he (Josh) would later have to change my I.V. bag switching it out for a new one. The doctor told us that when the last bag was finished Josh would of course have to take off the tape around my I.V. and safely remove it.

Of course.

The doctor also gave a brief crash course in using a blood pressure machine and then left the machine with us. These things are handy to have around. We know that.

So at approximately 11:45 that night we woke up, shook off a bit of sleep, and Josh put into practice those minutes of medical training he had previously obtained. I'm happy to say that I am sufficiently hydrated now, I.V. successfully removed, and very grateful to be on the mend. And Josh is practically a doctor. Win-win.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

"Good morning Mrs. John.."

Last week Josh, Emily and I headed out with a team from AZ to do prep work at the site for the upcoming medical clinic in Pursat. It was amazing to see the transformation that occurred through the work of the team and a team of Cambodians working together. The house and cafeteria got painted, cement walkways laid, squatty potties and showers constructed, stages set up for evangelism, and a myriad of other details that will continue to unfold before the clinic officially begins on August 4th.

Cambodia painting techniques are my favorite.

Second only to Cambodian moving methods (Need to move a building? Grab 30 guys, pick it up, and go. It's that easy.)

This is where my week-long sleep over with the ladies from New Life will take place :)

We had a great time with this team, enjoying hour long commutes to the home together, scraping blue paint off of ourselves at the end of each day, eating really good Khmer food (maybe including French fries sometimes..), and at the end of the night finding ourselves drawn to the irresistible beacon of light affectionately known as “Tela.”

Now, to any common traveler, the site of a gas station with a mini mart inside of it may seem like nothing substantial. But to the tired mission team, finding that the end of the day could bring with it M&M’s, shortbread cookies, and ice cold beverages is like a little piece of convenience store heaven. I wish I were exaggerating.

We had the last leg of our trip in Siem Reap and I got to go to Angkor Wat and two other temples for my second time. I was still quite enthralled by it all, enough so to post more pictures here. My favorite part of the Siem Reap time though was a brief exchange I had with one of the employees of the hotel we stay at when we’re there. I’ll preface it by saying that my husband is well known by the employees at the hotel, though the last “sh” sound of "Josh" doesn’t quite translate into Khmer (apparently), and he is known at this hotel as “John” or “sir John” which just makes him feel regal. I ventured down to breakfast one day on my own and was greeted with a friendly “Good morning Mrs. John!” Love it. I didn’t even know I was marrying into royalty.

Ancient squatty potty.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008


Yesterday, what began as a normal office day in Phnom Penh, turned into an all day road trip for Josh and I. We had the chance to go to the province of Pursat with the two doctors who work here to do a scouting trip for the upcoming Everett medical clinic. Not only am I excited to finally use my vast medical knowledge (on a tray full of tools, I could identify a stethoscope), I am also quite thrilled at the idea of seeing familiar faces step off of an airplane in Phnom Penh! It will be a fun glimpse of home while being so far away.

On the way to Pursat I had the chance to use what is most assuredly my favorite toilet I've encountered so far in Cambodia. It is practical, nearly private in its roadside setting, and I only nearly slipped in between the wooden beams potentially harming myself once during the whole process.

The Pursat home is amazing. It is pretty exciting to envision the set up that will soon happen there. Josh and I will welcome a team next week from AZ who will come in to create cement walkways, paint the inside of the home, and do general set up tasks in order to get things ready. When all is said and done, in a little over 4 weeks there will be tents set up, showers, a stage for evangelism, a pharmacy, doctors, support staff, and scores of people who will come to receive free medical care, perhaps for the first time in their life, and be able to walk away with not only physical hope but hope that will far outlast their earthly bodies. Pray for the upcoming team and the Everett team as they prepare to come serve!

On a less spiritual note (perhaps), Josh and I explored back behind the house yesterday which reveals an expansive wooded area that we were pretty delighted to explore. We have dreams of trekking through the jungles of Malaysia one of these days. We know how to get fresh rain water from a leaf so I like to think we're prepared.

Before we left the home to make our 4 hour trip back to Phnom Penh we had dinner with the people at the home. This involved the more typical foods like rice and chicken, but it also entailed (much to the delight of one of our doctors) the Cambodian delicacy of "dog." Now, I knew this was fairly common before coming to Cambodia, and I liked to think I would be fearless in the face of trying new foods. I did actually attempt it, eating a small piece, only to discover afterwards that the "batter" of this delicacy was red ant.

I prayed a little during it all, knowing it was more psychological than actual taste that might deter me from what I was eating. My gag reflex remained intact. And I was even validated in my incredible bravery when the doctors told the other staff here today about the ant battered dog and they were quite vocal in their disbelief that this is what we actually ate.

It was.

I should be on the Discovery channel.