Thursday, January 28, 2010

A Visit to TASK

Susan and Stewart asked us to write about a few of our thoughts as new visitors to Cambodia. We had the privilege of spending most of a day with TASK personnel, visiting a number of their projects. What an inspiring time! In the afternoon we met with Tiv Sok, Project Manager for AIDS Home Based Care Project. She invited us to join her in a home visit to a family in a very poor neighbourhood. The husband was living with HIV/AIDS. We met the family, who discussed his many health issues over the the past years. Personnel have assisted him in getting appropriate medical care as well as retrovirals and other medications. Ongoing visits are done to assess the needs they might have. We prayed together when we left. We couldn't help but ask ourselves '"Where would this family be without the involvement of TASK personnel?" - the answer was quite obvious. We were very impressed with the Khmer leadership and staff who are working in all of the projects. They are so focused, committed and caring. We enjoyed spending the day with them and it helped us get a better understanding of some of the ongoing issues that face Cambodia.
Dwight and Janet Loback

Friday, January 22, 2010

Jan. 22nd, 2010

Jan 10th- Away to the airport. Checked our luggage and was on the way to Tim Horton's for coffee when over the airport loudspeaker " Stewart McKercher to the check in counter". When I got there I was told one of my bags had " a hit " for explosives. Yiii, what did Susan pack anyway? We were both body searched, I had to sign an official document that I wasn't a terrorist. The bag was completely emptied and searched for explosives. In the end, one half hour later, I was exonerated, praised for my cooperation and sent away happy.
Janet and Dwight Loback ( an orthopod who wanted to go to Cambodia and check out the possibility of working there next year for a few months) had no problem checking in. Janet and Dwight help us with Ratanak work and are friends. They will be with us for 3 weeks.
Arrived on the 12th and was met by Sotheary and Anika ( 4 ). On the 14th Susan and I and Linda Chisholm( Prison Fellowship Cambodia Country Director )took Dwight and Janet out to Correction Center 2, a youth and women's prison. Ten years ago this prison had nothing- the prisoners languished in their cells all day. Now, thanks to PFC, there are several training programs offered and basketball and volley ball courts are available. It's really wonderful to walk by a classroom of youth and see them happy to be out of their cells studying Khmer literacy or English or the Bible. Ratanak is a financial supporter of PFC.
The next day ( 15th ) we took the Lobacks out to Task ( a Cambodian Non Governmental organization supported by Ratanak. Task is an acronym for " Trotrung Ning Aprivaet Sokipheap Neak Kreg Kror ". How did you like that? It means " Supporting the Health and Development of the Poor ". We went to two different locations. The first contained facilities to help disabled children and a " Nutrition " information center and a small medical clinic. The Khmer people working with the children ( C.P., Downs syndrome, physical deformities and the mentally challenged ) are exceptional. Their positive attitude toward the children is exemplary and inspiring. They are very dedicated to helping the children and the parents. Chendra, a young Khmer woman is a good example of this. She took her physiotherapy training in Phnom Penh and has since travelled to Singapore for 6 months of further study. She hopes to get t0 Australia sometime in the future for more study. When talking to her you can't help but be caught up in her excitement and enthusiasm about her work. This slim trim little girl is definitely part of the hope for the future of Cambodia.
After observing and talking to Chendra and the TASK director we went over to a youth ( 13-18 ) drug rehabilitation center. A large % of the youth who come to this center sniff glue to assuage their hunger. They probably started sniffing when they were quite young and have not had any reason to stop. The center draws youth from a population of 200000 of which 10% are Muslim. There are about 30 youth at the center. They come daily for education, sports, a snack and bible study. These youth are not hard core gangster types. They are kids who require some love and self esteem. They get both at this center. Phanna is the director. He is a young Khmer similar to Chendra in his drive to help his people. He taught himself to speak English by reading a dictionary. He is a great role model for the youth. He told us that once the boys were off the drugs there was an 80% rate of not going back on.
Later on in the afternoon Dwight and Janet went out on an HIV/AIDS home visit with the medical clinic team.
( 16th ) we went for breakfast with Linda Chisholm. Dwight and Janet went to the Genocide Museum and a killing field in the afternoon
On the 17th we went to Poipet for 4 days. Poipet is a city on the Thai-Cambodian boarder. Dwight will meet Kent Copeland while in Poipet. Kent is an American doctor who has been in Cambodia for many years.
That's all for now. More next week.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

New Sanctuary Renovation Photos

Renovations for the "Sanctuary" building started in December and are well underway. Here are some recent photographs of the development, including some of the 5th floor, a new addition to the building.