Wednesday, 3 February 2016
Newcastle Nursing Settle Into Life in Phnom Penh
PROGRAM: UniBreak Groups
PROJECT: University of Newcastle Nursing Placement
WRITTEN BY: Molly Batinic
Six strangers travelled together to Phnom Penh and luckily, so far so good. The traffic is chaotic, the language is unknown and the culture is immensely different. For the first couple of days we were thrown straight into the culture and sights of beautiful Cambodia before starting our work at the health clinic.
This epic adventure that was enabled by Antipodeans Abroad has influenced us to do other charitable activities whilst here. On day two, we decided that lunch at Friends was a must-do. Friends employs disadvantaged youth to get them off the streets, and teaches them vital cooking skills so they can have a brighter, happier future. This vibrant restaurant not only encourages hope for these children, but also has a positive environment and incredible food.
Many of the must-sees of Phnom Penh were checked off of our bucket list in these days. This includes visiting the S21 jail where the Khmer Rouge genocide took place during the 1970’s, wiping out 3 million Cambodians in just over 3 years. The Palace was also another wonderful sight to see, and was such a shock to see how much respect and devotion was still directed towards Buddhism and their King.
A sunset cruise is also a must-do if you are looking for a peaceful end to the day – a serenity-filled dinner. Whilst in Phnom Penh, it’s also fantastic to experience the bustling markets. Barter with the locals and shop till you drop, whilst spending little amounts of money on clothing, paintings, ornaments and everything in between. Lastly, if living on the edge is your style, jump on a cyclo-bike and rush through the city streets. You will support a local charity, whilst maneuver crazily through the traffic to get to around the city.
After exploring, we were ready to immerse ourselves in the clinics.
The alarm buzzed at 5.30am on Wednesday morning, and we dressed in our scrubs and got ready to tackle the busy day ahead. We were faced with many challenges and our worlds were put into perspective. From the poor working conditions, to the extreme health conditions, we were feeling overwhelmed by what we came across. Basic health checks in our country seem like so little, but to these children they were so much more. We set up stations to include eye checks, ear checks, skin and hair integrity, height/weight and temperature, vital signs, as well as dental interventions and quality of life questionnaires. By the end of the afternoon, we had our routine down-pat and established rapport and trust with the children. The day drew to a close and we were feeling both exhausted and excited for the many days to come.
30 children assessed, only 470 to go. Wish us luck!