Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Wednesday night in Cambodia.

Already I have eaten more rice than I have consumed in the past year. Already, despite my very careful (vegetarian) eating, my stomach-of-iron is somewhat wobbly. Already I have seen enough yellow to last me for a while.
Forty eight rooms in the building. Five floors and a roof deck. If we want water, guess where the water is...yep, the roof deck. You just take a paint can, walk up to the sixth floor and untie and un-crimp the hose and voila! - running water. (Don't forget to re-crimp and re-tie or you're in big trouble). And this water is HOT! - out of a hose. Then you take the paint can of water down to whatever floor it is needed and get to work. We don't drink this stuff - we buy our drinking water, and each of us takes two or three 1.5 litre bottles with us to the village each day. Jan and Mary and I usually drink two bottles each, some of the guys drink 3 bottles. It is HOT here. We also try to drink some electrolyte replacement fluids too.
And if you are really tired, and really hot, and out of water, and five floors down, and hey, you only need such a little bit, and there is no one else around....consider saliva. Works for me.
The team is really starting to gel - we have a great group of people here. Each day another layer of the complexity that is Cambodia - and especially Svay Pak - is introduced to us through our experiences, our observations, or new information provided.
This experience is a little different than the last one - of course. At first I thought that working in a 'clean' building, untarnished with a hideous history such as Rahab's House had, that the experience would be less emotionally wrenching. And in may ways that is true. But this is still Svay Pak - infamous for human trafficking, centre for child sex slaves, little, little girls.....and the reminders are never far away.
Also there are no kids crowding us, demanding attention and play. I miss the kids so much. Here we just go into the building and get to work, work, work. Today I went into one room alone and did all the 'cutting' with primer. I closed the door and sang all 132 verses of Just As I Am. Not one person threw down buckets of water on my head (or curses) because no one could hear,me. There is constant noise all the time - drills, welding, something that sounds like a monster dentist drill; the rooms are large and echo-y. I can barely hear a thing - just a cacophony of inarticulate noise. My singing was safe with the angels - who were kind enough not to comment ( you know my singing!).
So far the clinical concerns that have arisen have been manageable. Please keep our health and safety in your prayers.
Your emails have been wonderful. I got most of them in one big glorious batch as we have had Internet problems. I will attempt to answer each of them but please, please know how much they have meant to me. I think of you often through the days...and I am so grateful for your love and concern and support.
Mary and Jan are wonderful roommates. We're all on the same page - it's great.
Okay, I want to write a few hundred more paragrpahs, but that deadly fatigue is calling my name. I have to go to bed. I will try as soon - and as often - as I can to keep you posted. I see the other members of the team have made better progress on this than I. I'll be back.


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