Outreach Week Seven: There And Back Again

Now I know how a nomad feels.
Or maybe like a hobbit on a grand adventure, looking forward to the return home (hence the Tolkein reference above, heehee).

Safe to say, week seven was a little bit exhausting.
See, Cambodia is a beautiful country. And it’s been so amazing to be able to see so much of it… but packing and moving and unpacking and packing and moving is getting a little bit tiring.

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(A map of Cambodia for a bit of a reference for all of these travels!)

This week saw us travelling first 5 hours from Phnom Penh northwest to Kampong Thom, where we stayed for one night and ran two clinics at local villages.
We then packed up again, drove another 3 hours northeast to Preah Vihear, a BEAUTIFUL area where we were blessed to stay at a gorgeous guest house and ran a clinic right in a health center. So blessed by our accommodations!

Our travels then took us south to Kampong Cham, a gorgeous city right along the Mekong River, where we stayed for three nights and first enjoyed a day off, renting bicycles for $2 and riding around the city and then across a rather sketchy bamboo bridge to an island village right in the middle of the river!

It was so much fun to be out in the open air and enjoy the sunshine, even if it meant paying for it with a sunburn and a whole lot of sweat!

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(Bamboo bridge connecting Kampong Cham to the island village we visited. No large vehicles are allowed on the bridge, only mopeds, bicycles, or pony-drawn carts. I will never forget bicycling along, avoiding little piles of pony poop, and being passed by mopeds driving wayyy too fast as the bridge creaked and groaned. Not sure if I’d ever prayed that hard in my life! But yes, Mom, I made it safe and sound. ;)

When we were planning our outreach, there were many options presented to us for our time here in Cambodia. When reading all the options over, I really, really felt drawn to visiting villages and running clinics there. It was one of those things I’d never done before, but felt would agree with my heart. And, oh, how I love it. The people I have met and the experiences I have encountered have left such a mark on me. I love that nursing is nursing, and people are people, whether they’re in a bamboo hut in the middle of a Cambodian forest or in a hospital bed in a northern Alberta ER. This is my passion.

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(Wound care in the middle of a village, surrounded by palm and fruit trees, a captive audience, my shoes covered with dirt, and my patient sitting on a wooden bed frame covered with a woven mat. I’ll miss this! Once I’m home, ask me about this lady… it’s quite the story! There are more pictures of her arm… but definitely not for the faint of heart. ;) )

After a couple more clinics in the Kampong Cham area, we packed up again and drove a few hours south, back to Phnom Penh, completing our first loop of village tours during our last few weeks here.

Week Eight (soon to be blogged, as I’m a bit behind…) saw us travelling wayyyy south to the city of Kampot and then to the village of Kep, eventually ending up only 12 km from the Vietnam border before returning to Phnom Penh! I feel like I’ve been all over this country… backpack and stethoscope and all.

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(The sunset view from one of our guest houses in Phnom Penh… absolutely breathtaking.)

For more on the happenings of our week, check out our team’s update here (Outreach Update Week 7). Full of more photos and lots of information on our travels and experiences!

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(Before hitting the road in Kampong Cham, I snuck off to a fruit market and bought some delicious lychee. Only $2 a kilogram… I couldn’t really say no!)

For an authentic ” Cambodian road trip” experience… have a little listen to some of what I’ve been playing while on our many bus travels! I’ve discovered Josh Garrels, and I don’t think I’ll ever go back. ;)
Josh Garrels – Rise

Though they may surround me like lions 
And crush me on all sides 
I may fall, but I will rise 
Not by my might, or my power, or by the strength of swords 
Only through, your love, my Lord

Take courage sons, for we must go under
The heart of darkness, and set them free
But don’t lose heart when you see the numbers
There’s no measure for, the faith we bring
It’s given us, to overcome
If we run, where the spirit calls us on
The greatest things, have yet to come
With the dawn, we will rise

Stay tuned for next week’s update… the last one of outreach! Good grief… where has the time gone?

Praise God with me for seeing His heart and His blessings during my time here. He has given me such strength and so much of His love and compassion for the Cambodian people! His resources are indeed so limitless. :)

<3

Love, Jenn

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