Aoibh Byrnes - Public Health in Cambodia
The closer my trip to Cambodia came, the more excited I became. I had always wanted to do a volunteer trip so I knew it was going to be the opportunity of a lifetime. When I arrived in Cambodia, I was greeted by my Project Coordinator, Billie. From here I was driven to my accommodation in the Midland Hotel. My accommodation was spotlessly clean and comfy. By Monday, all the volunteers had arrived and we had our induction day, where we were told what our project would entail. We also received a Khmer language lesson, which was very useful throughout the trip.
My Public Health placement
Our first placement was a primary school in a slum area called SCC2. Here, we prepared a presentation on how to dress wounds and the importance of dressing wounds. We demonstrated step by step and came up with a game for the kids to learn.
Most of our time was spent on Koh Sdach Island, where we worked in a kindergarten run by an organisation called Khemara. Here, we played with the children, did basic health checks on them and taught them how to properly wash their hands. I couldn’t keep a smile off my face with these children because they were so happy and enthusiastic.
On the island, we also visited older people in their homes. Here, we took their blood pressure and glucose levels as diabetes and hypertension are very common illnesses in Cambodia. We logged all of their information into their patient profiles on a laptop and gave out some basic medication. Our local coordinator, Amara, taught me how to do all of this. We also visited a disability centre for men and young boys, which was a very emotional but great day.
My weekend trip
On Saturday morning, we travelled five hours to the city of Siem Reap where we spent two nights. Here, we visited the famous night markets and Angkor Wat. Angkor Wat was amazing to see and unlike anything I have visited before.
My overall experience
Overall, my experience in Cambodia was amazing and I loved every second of it, from the work to the people and the country itself. It has been such a rewarding experience and I would recommend it to anyone considering a trip like this.