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I scream! You scream! Let's all serve some ice cream!
loving2serve

Hey everyone!


I hope you all are having a great week so far! I for one am sad it's already thursday and I only have one more day left in Cambodia! Yesterday was probably the best day so far! As I mentioned before, the remaining 15% of mnt in Cambodia is due to 4 distinct populations. We visited two of them yesterday. One village was very, very poor and in a very remote location. The other is flooded for half of the year during the rainy season.

first stop: village clinic

Before going to the villages itself, we stopped by one of the clinics hosted by two of the trained villagers (trained by UNICEF, of course. I saw the training manual also. It's huge and covers everything!). The dynamic here was a little different from the village we visited yesterday. Here, there was more yelling and it was more personal. For example, there was one woman that walked by that hadn't had her vaccinations yet and the village was yelling to call her over so she could get vaccinated. Thats how much these villagers are educated. Amazing!

President Alan showing his soft, fatherly side :) aww! The baby looks so tiny when he holes her haha!

She was sooo adorable :)

Randy was trying to teach the little boys and girls his Texan ways and how to lasso! He asked them if they'd ever been fishing and they started laughing! One kid had a batman shirt on and randy and the little boy started doing the batman dance! Adorable!

next stop: the inspiring village with a thousand kids!

after we went to the clinic, we went to a village that had sooo many children! Cambodia has the largest proportion of children out of all of the Asian countries so it's important to give it a lot of attention! This village was definitely a contribution to that large proportion. There were soooo many kids!! I had a ton of fun playing with them :)

The trained villagers had already vaccinated about 70 some people before we arrived but there were still some left waiting to meet us! This was probably one or the poorest villages we have visited so far.

As we were visiting and talking with them, the ice cream man came around! Randy saw it and wanted all of the kids to have ice cream :) so we handed out these little Popsicles to everyone. It made them soooo happy! Once about 40 kids had ice cream, the ice cream man said it was $1! Then we got ice cream for all of the mothers and the rest of the village people also.

I was so inspired by how happy just one Popsicle made them. I think it goes past the actual ice cream though. When we handed it to them, there was something else in their eyes. They'd probably had ice cream a thousand times before, but I think they were so grateful that someone cared about them so much. They are definitely not used to that.

Altogether, Randy spent $2 on ice cream. That $2 went a very long way. Definitely the best $2 I've ever seen spent.


The others went to see the village watering hole, but I stayed back and played with the kiddies and talked to the villagers a little more (with a translator of course!) the little girl above was so smiley! She followed me every where wanting to play more!

The girl below on the left was also a ton of fun! We played hand games :)


This little girl was adorable also! But very quiet. The bellies on the little ones is a sign of malnutrition or worms.

Me and all of my new friends!

As I walked towards the car, I noticed a group of villagers standing by the fence watching us leave. I didn't want to go without a proper goodbye. At first one of the elderly women started talking to me, touching my arm and comparing our skin colors (I thought she was asking if I'm Indian!). The translator said "she says you are very beautiful and you have great smooth skin. We don't have smooth skin here like you do!" (she also asked the translator if i was indian! The cambodian camera man keeps telling me the villagers are amused by me because they're not use to seeing indians!) sooo sweet! I told her thank you (Or-Kun) and told her staying in this village makes me want to live here forever! I told her I could stay here and play with the kids and teach them all English.

The lady responded "you should stay here forever! But we live in a poor village." I told her as confidently as I could "that doesn't matter to me."

Then all the little kids went around and told me their names, all with a HUGE smile! And for the first time, I didn't want to leave the village. I didn't want to turn my back on these adorable kids and their moms. And I know I won't. For the rest of my life I will dedicate myself to the eliminate project and never forget these are the village people I am helping.


This village motivated me to never stop working hard to eliminate mnt. Because there is no need for women and children like these to die unnecessarily. Never growing up for that one Popsicle, to meet someone from a foreign country. To grow up with so many friends! There is no reason why, just because you come from a poor village, that you should be deprived a vaccine for a preventable disease. Especially when there is UNICEF and the Kiwanis family.


"mopping"

After we visited this village, we took a very long, rocky trip to another village. It was extremely difficult for us to get there since the were barely roads to get us there. We had to drive through the grass in the middle of these fields to get there. As you can imagine, these villages are extremely hard to access and who knows how many more of them there are! It requires a lot of resources for UNICEF to get in there and help them out.

This particular village is mostly under water during the rainy season (about half the year). This makes it even more difficult to access.

With the system of having clinics periodically, you can probably imagine many villagers getting left behind or not showing up. That's why there is periodic "mopping" where we go from door to door and make sure everyone received their vaccines.

reflection
Both of these locations are very hard to reach. They contribute to the final four populations that need special attention in Cambodia. The methods are there, the people are there, the mothers and children that need our help are there. The only thing remaining are the resources and funding. As a Kiwanis family, we have to come together with the eliminate project and help all of these amazing kids and moms.


All it takes is $1 (40 Popsicles) to make a kid and her mom smile...forever.


I hope you all are as inspired as I am. I for one cannot wait to get back to the states, roll up my sleeves and get working! How many of you are with me?! :)
--Avanti

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPad.

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Avanti,
Thank you for blogging everyday. I can't wait to get home everyday to read of your experiences. You have inspired me even further to want to roll up my sleeves and help as much as I can to help eliminate MNT. Thank you for allowing us an inside to what u have experienced. I would like to ask two favors - can I have permission to reproduce your blog in our Australian eliminate newsletter including photos and secondly I am in the process of producing an eliminate diary for 2012 and would love your permission to use some of your blog content and photos to add to the diary so it provides a real local feel
Avanti, you should be very proud of yourself, and the way you have represented Kiwanis, UNICEF and MNT. I hope I get to meet you at some stage
I look forward to the next edition
Regards
Tania Allen
Kiwanis Australia District First Lady and Eliminate District Deputy Coordinator
Regards
Tania Allen
Kiwanis Australia District First Lady and eliminate deputy district coordinator

I am doing research for my university thesis, thanks for your great points, now I am acting on a sudden impulse.


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