Monday, September 14, 2009

Dentists everywhere!

At first I thought it was because we're doing a lot of work here with CTAP which is a dental charity that works with people in the prisons and slums but actually it's because there are no regulations here on dentistry and so there are loads. Just cos a place says it's a dentist doesn't mean a dentist works there!

This is actually my second attempt at this email. I lost my last one when sending! It was really long too! So annoying!

So I'm in Phnom Penh in Cambodia. I landed here on Friday. Was really nervous coming through customs because I had over 6kg of medicines and dental equipment. None of it is illegal but if they find I had it I would more then likely have to pay them money (bribes) to get it through and I have NO experience in that! But when I'd got my visa and through passport control a man and a woman approached me. One was Dr Sonita who is a dentist with CTAP and the other was her relative who works in Customs. They got my bag and my form and just walked me out! Was so crazy and a relief! Yesterday we went and did the same thing for the last member of our team, Ron Morrison. It was quite surreal going through customs to meet him. Would never happen in NZ or Aus!

On Saturday morning we were picked up at 7am to go to one of the prisons in Phnom Penh. We spent the morning there doing tooth extractions, fillings and medical checks. Well everyone else did. I walked around and did things like take photos! I held one female prisoners hand while they did something to her teeth but I couldn't watch! No way I could be a dentist eh. There is every kind of person there. We were beside the teenage boys area and behind us were the men. To get in we walked past the womans area and if a woman has children who can't be looked after by anyone else then they are in there too. There was one gorgeous little girl who watched us nearly the whole time! I went and talked to her but she went all shy and it's hard with a translator. I will send out a photo when I can. The prisoners are either in normal clothes or a blue top and pants. The ones in normal clothes are waiting for sentencing or trial. This is one of the nicest prisons here. Lots of flowers and bushes and the prisoners were all relaxed and some even joking with the guards. All claim to be innocent apparently and here they might just be telling the truth. They have a factory, a garden and a room where people (woman mostly) are taught sewing skills so they have something to do when they leave. I was nervous at first to be right in the middle of a prison but there were no problems. Everyone just watched us! I wasn't sure whether the random white girl or the dental work was more interesting.

In the afternoon I helped Huy (said like hoi) work out how to use his mac laptop. It has been donated to CTAP and as Huy is in charge of 3 orphanages he gets to use it. He looks after about 300 orphans. One of the orphanages has about 90 children in it and they are all HIV or AIDS children. This is where we are teaching out of over the next few days.

I had to go home sick yesterday which was REALLY disappointing but how I got home was on a moto (motorbike). It was SO MUCH FUN! It was not nearly as scary as I thought, you feel really safe! Or maybe Khov was just a good driver. He is a orphan that is involved with CTAP in the livlihood project. He was given this moto to use the day before yesterday to use to make money by taking passengers and so on. He lives in a Wat with the monks. A wat is a temple.

Here an orphan can mean a child with only one parent because here they see that if a parent is on their own they have to work twice as hard so aren't around as much.

Not sure what else is planned for the rest of the week but that's what I was expecting. You never know what to expect!

No comments: