A Meaningful Visit

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Cambodia has a way of reaching your heart in a way that no other country seems to. At least that has been my experience so far. This is my first visit to Siem Reap and I have already decided it will not be my last. Early this week I went to the Visitor centre of the ‘Angkor Hospital for Children’ to ask if I could write an article on the hospital. The Director of Human Resources kindly offered to give me a tour of the hospital the next day. I was thrilled to be given such an opportunity and learnt so much about their work as well as actually seeing what they did, and to also get a clearer understanding of how the organisation works. The Hospital depends entirely on donations and I am pleased to be writing something for them in an attempt to help them raise more revenue. I was also asked if I would like to return as a volunteer writer for them next year and I jumped eagerly at the opportunity. I have been fortunate to know people, that are attempting to make a difference and it has given us the opportunity to see things we may not normally see. On arriving here my daughter in law asked if I would like to visit an Orphanage where a friend is a member of staff. I then discovered that my husband’s son is in touch with the President and founder. I immediately said yes and the following day we travelled in the Tuk Tuk for our visit. It was a hot, dusty day and I was already itching like mad from the numerous bites I had received overnight. But once there, I was moved beyond belief. I had stupidly visualised the Orphanage as huge and something like one I would see in England. It was in fact down a very bumpy track. A bumpy track in a Tuk Tuk is no fun and I am still wondering if my womb is still intact. I certainly lost a fair amount of my diet coke on the way  As soon as we arrived someone came to the gate to greet us. No sooner had we stepped into the courtyard, then children were screaming hello to us from their classroom high up on the balcony of the traditional Cambodian house which is located alongside the Seim Reap River. I have never felt so welcome as I did at ‘The Children’s Sanctuary’ so much so, that we returned yesterday armed with biscuits. The assistant manager showed us around and I was stunned to see how small the Orphanage was. The children sat quietly listening to their lessons while occasionally posing for me when they realised the camera was on them.

Pointing to the words they know.
One child, who is very sick was quite blue when I saw her and I asked what her health problems were and was told she needed heart surgery which is very complicated to arrange and although they have tried several countries to get this done it just has not happened. It was difficult to understand just what the problem was as the language barrier made it difficult for us to converse and the manager who speaks good English was away on a training programme. But I presumed the main problem was one of finance. Cambodia is a poverty-stricken country and everywhere you look there is malnutrition. Many of the children here originate from impoverished rural villages and most children coming to the Sanctuary are orphans or have been abandoned by their families. When a child is taken into care here the main objective is to address any health issues. The children are cared for by the Sanctuary nannies and what wonderful people they are. All are trained in first aid and health care with emphasis upon hygiene. A doctor and nurse visit the children on a regular basis to check on the children’s health and progress if they are on treatment. Full dental care is also provided for all children. But, as always, money is a problem. The Orphanage depends solely on donations and sponsorship. It is certainly somewhere I will maintain contact and help as much as I can. I hope I have encouraged you to do the same. From my photos you can see how happy the children are. During our visit we saw the children receive gifts for their outstanding work in the classroom for the past year. Visitors are very welcome at the Sanctuary provided prior arrangement is made and one can help with the lessons. I spent time with some of the children reading with them. It is a humbling experience to visit their home and certainly puts things into perspective. When it is time to climb back into the Tuk Tuk, both the staff and children come to wave goodbye. A visit I shall not forget. Visit their Webpage


2 thoughts on “A Meaningful Visit

  1. Puts life in perspective doesn’t it. I found this when visiting remote parts of Namibia and Botswana

    Wonderful that you can help by bringing these wonderful places to the attention of others.


  2. I totally admire you for getting involved. Children and being in care are subjects close to my heart so if I can also help in some way please let me know. You sound like you packed a lot into your trip, glad your home safe and sound.


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