Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Dentists, haircuts and HIV

It feels like ages since I’ve last done an update but probably it’s only a few days. I’ll try and remember everything!

I went to the dentist for the first time in nearly 8 years the other day. It cost me $30US and I got a tiny filling that didn’t even need an injection and an xray and my teeth cleaned of course. My first thought is what a relief that there was nothing wrong and my next one is that I’m stoked I haven’t wasted time, money and energy going to the dentist every year for a checkup!

On Friday we took 4 of the girls from the orphanage out for the day. They are 16, 14, 13 and 7 and we all got our nails done and some of us got haircuts too. I got one and it cost $1.50. Bit shorter but all good. Can’t complain at that price!!

Yesterday and today we have gone to the orphanage just to play with the kids. They are all so excited to see us and come running and all want hugs and cuddles. Got some gorgeous photos because they love having pictures taken and then I can show them right away because my camera is digital. Also I’ve taken bubble mixture most times and that makes for a lot of fun. Today when it had all quieted down I found one little boy crying. He was obviously very tired and so I held him til he fell asleep and then put him to bed. He was just so cute! Again I’ll send the photo out another time. It is so nice to be able to give these kids the attention because as much as they are so well cared for they can’t always have cuddles or fall asleep in someones arms.

It is quite obvious to us now that these children are sick and in some cases dying. I try really hard to think about it but it’s hard not to see the sores or hear them coughing. One wee boy has a growth on his nose which Annie tells me is actually cancer and as with all HIV people it will spread very quickly.

There is one wee girl who arrived last week. She is 6 months old. Her name is said ShinShin but everyone calls her Lulu. She is just gorgeous and all smiles whenever she sees me except today because she is sick. And it’s not like when we get a cold, it can be life threatening every time. We have all fallen in love with a child or 2 and for me Lulu is one of them. I have lots of photos and will be very sad to say goodbye. We have talked a bit about adoption but the general consensus is that even if we could (HIV children aren’t allowed to be adopted) then it would be unfair to take them away from their culture and family and friends. A tough decision to make but we can see the reasons behind it.

We had one of our team members go home yesterday. We are all here for different lengths of time and what a mixture we are! Ron Morrison has been here teaching budgeting, forecasting and cashbook and his students all loved him as did we. He has been a lot of fun to have around.

Next there is Dr Scott Gray. He is from Dunedin and was a dentist and then went on to be a professor at the dental school. He is here doing work with the International University and will tomorrow be giving a lecture on something about dentistry. He has handled everything AMAZINGLY well considering his age (he’s 86) and continues to amaze me with his quick wit and never complaining.

There is Dr Annie Chen-Green of course. She is a Chinese born kiwi and has endless energy and ideas and is constantly in meetings! I’m sharing a room with her and we have had a lot of fun. Also handy when I was very sick last week as she threw pill after pill at me to fix everything that was wrong!

We also have Sheena staying with us. She is 24, from Rotorua and is here with another team but while they are out of town she’s been staying with us.

So we get a lot of looks, an 86 year old western man, a very white western girl (that’s me), a Chinese woman, a little person (Ron is a dwarf) and a tall Maori girl. What a mixture but so much fun.

This weekend has been a long weekend here in Cambodia. It is the Festival of the Dead which sounds awful but is actually about honoring and celebrating your ancestors.

On Wednesday Scott is going home and Annie and I are flying up to the North and will be doing medical checks on the border of Cambodia and Laos. As Annie said we will be guessing as to who has HIV and who has TB and whatever else they have! Will definitely be an experience.

Ok until next time!

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