Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Vietnam 2004

I posted a slide show about my medical mission to Vietnam and decided I needed to fill everyone in on what happened there. So here it goes...

During nursing school my best friend,Charity and I were chosen to go on a medical mission to Vietnam to treat thousands of people across the country. The poverty and reality of it all was absolutely shocking. I researched pictures and articles before I left, but seeing it in person was something completely different.

We traveled with a group called Children of Peace International (COPI). We started our trip in North Vietnam and ended in South Vietnam. The plane ride was a very long 18 hours. Thanks to the Ambien, we were able to sleep through at least half of the plane ride.

We set up clinics that consisted of nursing and dental care in each of the villages we visited. The sickness and diseases presented to us during the clinic was shocking. It was so hard when we found life threatening conditions that needed to be treated right away with surgery, and we could do nothing for them but send them away with nothing knowing that they were going to die. We gave out a lot of medicine and antibiotics that we knew would only help temporarily.

We also visited several orphanages. This one in particular broke my heart. In Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), we visited a very poor orphanage the consisted mainly of children who were pick of the street. There were approx. 60-70 children in each of the five small cells or rooms. They were locked up from 6pm until 8am for the night like prisoners. They were beaten and treated like animals. We witnessed several boys and girls being beaten with a stick just because the owners wanted a laugh. Knowing that they were being beaten, starved, and living in such disgusting horrible conditions-we knew we had to do something. Anything at all. We cleaned and disinfected the entire orphanage and notified authorities to have a surprise check on this orphanage. When the authorities came, the owners were only reprimanded. Last I heard, things changed in that orphanage and the children were finally treated properly.

Another clinic we set up was for the "boat people." These people are in the lowest society class that they were actually cast off the mainland. They lived about 2 hours off shore in very small houseboats. It was amazing to think that they actually lived in the middle of the ocean. Seeing a 2 year old rowing himself from houseboat to houseboat was unbelievable.

We also visited two hospitals while we were there and donated several medical supplies. The first hospital was horrible. They are in such need of supplies that they have to re-use everything (sutures, gloves, gauze etc.). One patient I can think of had a leg wound that had some sort of hand made JP drain. Instead of a sterile bag to drain into, it was closed with a baggie and rubber band. This was definitely an eye opening experience and made me think about all the supplies I easily have access to use at our hospital.

This trip to Vietnam changed my life. I no longer take the things I have for granted. I often think of the children in the villages and orphanages and wish they could have a better life. At least I feel like I made a difference at that time and made them smile, even if it was only temporary. I HIGHLY recommend Children of Peace International for anyone who has a medical or dental background, or even anyone who might be interested in just volunteering for the experience of a missions to Vietnam. Binh is the head of it all and is WONDERFUL! Their website is http://www.childrenofpeace.org/index.htm

One more thing...CHECK OUT HOW THEY DRIVE. There are NO traffic signs or signals. And if you are a pedestrian who wants to cross the road, you have to just walk out in front of the traffic and they will go around you. Its amazing how there are not more accidents. WATCH!

Monday, July 30, 2007

Kamrynn's 1st Birthday

Having two girls so close in age makes me feel like I missed out on Kamrynn's first year. It flew by way too fast and I don't believe that she just turned one.

We had a party at our house with some family members. Everyone was expecting Kamrynn to dive right into her cake because she is such a messy eater. To every ones surprise she barely touched it. Oh well, less mess to clean up, right?!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Kennedi's 2nd Birthday Party

I can't believe that my little baby just turned two. It's amazing how fast she is growing. We had my family over for her Finding Nemo Party (or "Finding Nebo" as she says). She has such a cute personality and we feel so blessed to have her in our lives.

"Aunt Cherries"

My best friend Charity came to visit us. We met in nursing school and have been best friends ever since. She is so cute with the girls and they had so much fun with their Aunt Charity (or "Aunt Cherries," as Kennedi will say). Thanks for coming to visit us!

Just Moved In...

We are so excited - Our house is finally finished and we have moved in! The kids are adjusting well and loving it. A BIG THANKS to Pa-Pa (Mark) and Clayton Guymon, and Tiffani's family for helping us move. The girls loved hanging out with their Pa-Pa. We miss you guys so much!

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Vietnam 2004