Kreg’s truck broke down our 1st night in Banlung. They dropped us off at our hotel and after I went upstairs and opened the window to let in some air I heard metal clang against something. I looked down and saw Kreg and Jenny get out of their truck. Uh oh.

It looked like the ball joint just fell out of the control arm out of the blue. Actually it just looked like a towing hitch ball sitting at the end of a big metal arm dragging along the ground. I later googled to find out the actual mechanical terms and try and sound manly.

This being Cambodia, they explained what happened to the hotel owner (who apparently put a sign on the front of it later that night) and left it where it was blocking one side of the parking lot ingress/egress. The mechanic came out the next day and fixed it on the spot. For $50.

A quick 9.5 hour drive back to Phnom Penh was our Super Bowl Sunday.

Yesterday was ARC. Agape Restoration Center. It’s the first stop for the rescued girls. We’ve been there before: no address listed, nondescript wall along the street, and you have to sign in with the guards. Stacy and I were both doing really well. We felt like we knew what to expect so it wasn’t such a shock….until we actually started seeing patients. The nurse at the home throws around “Hep B,” “HIV,” and “pregnancy” like she’s talking about the weather.

After a few dozen, we had a momentary break and I numbly said to Stacy, “they look younger….” We rejoiced a few years ago when we were there because the girls seemed to be getting older as the years wore on.

Today at community clinic we were able to care for 207 patients. Thank goodness for iced Vietnamese coffee and 60 cent coconuts. They use a meat cleaver to whack off the coconut shell and stick a straw in it. That much packaged coconut water would easily be like $6 in the States.

We are also thankful for big fans since we were working pretty much outside under a tin awning. We come to Cambodia in late January/early February because it is the cool season. Today’s high was only 97*F which explains the turtlenecks and jackets worn by the locals. And we may have seen an American missionary sporting a hoodie this weekend.

Those big fans were behind our work space across us and then toward the waiting area where dozens of patients were seated (they also had fans blowing at them). This culture is big on respecting elders and I was impressed when a middle aged man and woman allowed an elderly man to jump a few places in front of them. I didn’t realize just how much I loved those fans until my translator explained they were mopping up an area of the waiting space because the elderly man had diarrhea and didn’t realize it. Poor guy.

  1. Being upwind was very nice and not just for the cooling effect.
  2. Cheap plastic chairs = good choice.
  3. Maybe those folks weren’t just respecting their elders after all.

There was, however, one community member who really warmed our hearts. We came back after lunch and saw a lady sitting in the line who we obviously had already seen. I’m not sure how to say it other than she looks almost caucasian because of her advanced vitiligo. To say she stands out in a crowd would be an understatement.

The group as a whole let her jump the line. She had come in the morning, gotten her glasses, took them home, and let a neighbor try them. That neighbor really liked them so she gave them to the neighbor. She was willing to come and sit in line again to replace the pair. That’s saying something when she had probably already spent 3 hours the first go ’round. We loved her giving spirit and the fact that the group as a whole supported her decision and let her be first after lunch.

May we all be so selfless.

Oh yeah and I got kicked by a Cambodian kickboxer today.