Friday, July 22, 2005

Had breakfast with C*, N's friend. She works in a community outreach department at one of the local children's hospitals. In order to help the staff with their english, she spent a day shadowing a doctor. She told us about seeing the children who suffer from chronic malnutrition. It was heartbreaking to hear. The hospital actually covers the parents' travel expenses so they can bring their children in for free. But it seems the problems are deeper than that. The hospital even has programs for training the adults about using the food available to provide proper nutrition. And yet the same people bring the same children, with the same problems over and over. The hospital also tried to send one of its cambodian doctors to the US so he could participate in a training program, but he couldn't get a visa. Since he was unmarried, the US officials felt he had little incentive to return here. Cambodians are notorious for going to the US as tourists and never returning.
I spent the morning touring a crafts workshop, called "Artisans" run by a french NGO. I watched people carving wood, painting on silk and preparing lacquerware. Its a school that trains the students, and then, if they want, they can stay and work for a salary. They did very fine work and it now supports itself. N commented that its about time the french did something right. It was nice to see something well run and artsy. This afternoon the heat was oppressive, and it rained, so we opted to stay in and watch "Lost."

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