Today was a mixture of oddities, fun, sadness, and joy. This morning I (Rebecca) worked at the medical clinic here in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. It's a Chrisitan medical clinic established to serve the poor. The day had a difficult start as I had a Cambodian medical student translating for me. He would not tell me what the patient said, but rather whatever he thought about the patient. That made it very hard to make accurate diagnosis or tx plans. I ended up deferring to Doug, who is our close friend, a Family Practice doctor, medical director of the clinic, and able to speak Khmer very well. As the day progressed I would see patients then try to either find another translator or discuss the case with Doug. We ended up seeing some very sick patients, two of them being 17 years old and critically ill. Dasen came to the clinic in the afternoon and saw those same 2 patients, and one other whom he did surgery on yesterday. It was a good experience watching my husband in action, taking care of baffling cases with wisdom and apparent ease. Working on difficult cases with a team of caring Christians and good friends is hard to find in the medical world, but it happened here today. Even though it was sad and difficult to interact with the suffering, which I believe is much stronger here than in America due to underdeveloped opportunities, it was still a blessing to be able to help in some small way.
We came home from the clinic to find Heidi washing their car with all 6 kids (our 4 and their 2.) She has been such a wonderful friend and helper. She has the spiritual gift of service, from which we all benefit. Then this evening our 2 families, Scott (Doug's brother) and Susan (the med student) all went out for dinner. There are some pretty cool restaurants in this city. We ended up at a place called Gasolina which serve a mixture of European/American food. The sunset was lovely, the restaurant was open aired with a large grassy yard and cushioned chairs, and the food came relatively quickly. The tastiest offering, we thought, was Hadiah's fresh passion juice. After dinner all the girls, except Hannah, went in a tuk tuk to a traditional Cambodian dance show. The guys and Hannah opted to come home. They may have made the wiser choice, especially Hannah who is very sensitive. The show was well done, also open aired, with a stage and rows of wooden benches and special lighting. The artist mediums used included puppet like dolls the size of my whole arm, shadow puppets made of thinly carved wood that move behind a sheet with lights to create shadows, and also real dancers. Cambodian dancing involves very intricate hand movements, most of which I would never be able to do. Chosen children learn them at a young age and can then move the joints of their hands to dance with an intricate sign language that relays a story. So… all of the aforementioned was excellent. The odd/rather bad part came with the story line. I am quoting the program: "It is also depicting illicit passion, a cruel murder, a vengeful ghost, and the loyal dog." Does that make you want to take a trip here or what? We thought it was a dance show and since we arrived late (surprise to all those who know me!) we didn't read the program before the show. So we ended up leaving a little early at Hadiah's request and trying to talk about it on the way home. It was certainly interesting and memorial. Hopefully we won't be too scarred.
When we got home we found a dance party to 80's music with Taylor and Hannah. After some chocolate cake we all turned in for the night. (I think that's how every good day should end.) May you have a meaningful day filled with some oddities and fun, and maybe some sadness and joy too. And may you also have the chance to eat some chocolate cake.