06/02/2008 - 06/03/2008
Today we took the opportunity to visit the Angkor Hospital for Children. The hospital provides free medical services to approximately 400 Cambodian children each day. It also serves as the main center for pediatric consultations.
As we arrived, we noticed a small group of parents and children gathered outside waiting for medical care. Most of the supplies and equipment used in the hospital have been donated by foreigners. The treatment area is very busy, and only a few rooms have air conditioning. However, the hospital appears to be clean and fairly well organized.
We both donated blood and also made a cash contribution to their parent organization, Friends Without a Border. We also met briefly with their Development Director, Mayanna Prak. If you would like to learn more, or to make a contribution, here's a link to both organizations...
We also visited the Savong School. The school was founded in 2005 and provides free classes to more than 300 students. It focuses primarily on teaching English and Japanese.
We helped to teach a few English lessons in the afternoon. The kids were all very interested in learning more about America. Most of the students seem to be very optimistic about the future. Some have aspirations of becoming teachers, while others want to work in the tourism and hospitality industry.
We made a small cash donation towards the library that is currently under construction. It should be completed by the end of July. Perhaps we will also send some books later this year.
Tourism, investment, and economic aid are all helping to slowly lift the country from the clutches of poverty. However, there are still so many people in need, particularly children. The country is littered with land mines left over from decades of war. It is estimated that more than 6 million unexploded land mines are still scattered throughout the countryside. More than 40,000 Cambodians have suffered amputations as a result of land mine injuries since 1979. Based on the current rate of progress, the UN estimates that it may take another 100 years to clear all of the land mines from Cambodia.
We will be leaving Cambodia later today. However, we will certainly have lasting memories of this beautiful country and its friendly people. Hopefully, Cambodia will be an even healthier and happier place if we decide to visit again in a few years.
Steve & Ann