I have had the privilege of going on three HOPE volunteer programs, but my involvement in the Cambodia Medical Corps this year was the most inspiring one ever. The program involved 35 participants from all over the world, including America, Sri Lanka, Australia, and England. All participants came together with one purpose in mind: to provide medical care for poor people in the province of Kompang Tom.
At home, in Australia, I work as a mental health nurse, so on this mission I worked along side a doctor doing psychological assessments. The assessments themselves were straightforward, but there were so few resources in terms of counselling services or medication, that I quickly realised I was providing little more than a Band-Aid solution. Added to these issues was the problem of communication - we didn’t speak Khmer, and our patients didn’t speak English. We were reduced to the simple but universal language of compassion. Needless to say, we ended each day both physically and emotionally drained.
Hear me, LORD, and answer me - for I am poor and needy.
This helped me regain control of my thoughts and continue to focus on the mission I had come to perform.
As I said earlier, the Cambodia mission was the most inspiring HOPE mission I have been on. Why? The answer is that while I went with the intention of giving my knowledge and ideas away, I found instead that I received so much in return. In only four-and-a-half days we treated 1071 people. I saw the value of our small and under-resourced efforts on the world’s truly poor, and I was reminded just how much we have at home.