I spent many hours carefully setting up a very full agenda for this week in Cambodia only to have it completely fall apart on Friday afternoon so I admit I was pretty anxious when I arrived in Phnom Penh on Sunday. The other members of the team arrived on three separate flights early Monday morning and we began a marathon of meetings. It was fascinating to watch each step fall neatly into place in a far better and more thorough manner than we could have dreamed.
We met with TWR, RHAC, Mercy Medical Center, had supper with another doctor and then had a late evening meeting with a lovely Indian gentleman before Bill, Annelies and Su Min even saw their hotel room at 11:00 p.m. By 7 a.m. Tuesday we were on our way to Kampong Cham to see a Youth Center and watch an amazing young village volunteer conduct an education session in a “small pagoda” with a group of youth. On Wednesday we met with the managers and two trainers from each of RHACs programs to de-brief and do a presentation on CHE’s holistic approach to health.
RHAC had requested that we help them teach their educators moral lessons which they described as teaching Cambodians about love and compassion. When they saw a sample five day curriculum for HIV/AIDS that contained lessons with topics such as Fearfully and Wonderfully Made, Youth, Love and Lies, Family Violence and Self Esteem they were thrilled. Then they suddenly switched track and asked for training on Family Planning instead. While Bill and I panicked Su Min, a very creative OB/GYN simply went to the computer and created a new program in front of their eyes. I don’t think that this group of very educated Cambodians had ever seen anything like this before.
The last group to get on board was the Cambodia CHE Working Group and we were not even sure that we were on their agenda. No problem getting that group to recognize the opportunity. However, this is new territory for everyone both in terms of working with a large secular organization and in the use of many new lessons.
From the very beginning, this project has only been evident one step at a time and we are all thoroughly enjoying this experience of walking in faith.