Today is the first day for the Siem Reap mission where we visited Feeding Dream and the Pagoda. At first I was a bit nervous, especially because I’ve never been on a mission before but I was still determined to learn more of the culture and the patients individually. The station I’m in charge of is distributing the glasses, yet as simple as it sounds, I’ve had a lot of interesting experiences so far in explaining the difference between reading glasses and sunglasses. Our stations were set up where glasses are the last to be seen to collect the registration papers. We documented age, gender, blood pressure, sunglasses or reading glasses strength and which provinces. In addition, we also had our inventory team follow up on how many glasses we’ve given out. Overall for this mission in Siem Reap, we distributed over 300+ total sunglasses and reading glasses and compared it to their age, gender and strength for future analytical logistics.
Although limited to only reading glasses and sunglasses, most patients were able to understand the functions of the glasses and know we did not have glasses for farther vision, yet many of them insisted on farther vision glasses. Interestingly, we learned that the lower strength glasses like 1.25 sometimes worked for farther vision while the higher strength 3.00 glasses worked better for reading. The first morning to lunch section totaled 164 glasses distributed and after realizing how much help I’m contributing, I realized I want to keep beating the numbers of people needing help. As a Cambodian speaker, I loved speaking to the patients and building my khmer vocabulary. It was interesting to watch the non-cambodian speakers also learn the language and be able to get the jobs done. I’m completely inspired by this mission because although I was distributing glasses, we also had other teams working with patients. We had a medical team for blood pressure, Dr. Gracie Dinkins for consulting and examining patients, Dr. Lilliana Stojic for Dentistry with her team, Pharmacy students and also health education by our UCLA students. All together we are a team, a determined and diligent team that invests into the patients and do our best to provide the best assistance we can give.
While distributing glasses I learned how privileged we are in 1st world countries to have the simplicity of a phone call or a quick drive to get what we need. What breaks my heart is to know that when these people are hurting, they do not have the resources we have to get rid of their pain and have to figure it out on their own. It brings me to tears when I see smiles across their faces when they get the correct help they need and know each and every volunteer actually cares to help.