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The Lake Clinic is up and running..The TLC Flag flying proud...before Jon took a short cut home.

This past week was a big one for The Lake Clinic-Cambodia. After a bit more than a year of planning, fundraising and building TLC, Jon Morgan’s vision of a floating, all purpose primary health care facility to bring healthcare to some of this country’s poorest became a reality and went to work.

The poorest live among the poor.

Our inaugural trip out on the Tonle Sap Lake was to the floating village of Moat Klas. This is a completely floating village of more than 1,000 people whose subsistence is based solely on fishing. Most have never experienced running water, electricity, or real healthcare. The lake and its waterways serve as both the source of drinking water and as their toilet.

The Gateway to Moat Klas (Tiger's mouth)

After a three hour, 32 kilometer cruise we set up shop on the covered deck of the village chief’s house; a 6 meter by 20 meter floating platform. By far this was the largest in the community where the vast majority of floating homes—constructed of bamboo and thatch—are no more than 12 meters square. While we worked some villagers continued to socialize, cook, ate, traded fish and slept in that same space.

Business as usual.

Our ambitions where modest.

· To provide emergency dental treatment and oral health education.

· Prenatal care.

· To begin a detailed survey of the community to assess health care needs for future planning.


Samphaut teaching a lesson in good oral hygiene.
We totaled seven on this trip. Rather cramped for the TLC-1, but some of the local staff decided to sleep in mosquito net covered hammocks on the village chief’s deck. (Regardless of where one slept, the mosquitoes were INCREDIBLE—the size of a sparrow, at least!)

On board we had:

Jon—Captain, skipper, TLC director and sterile supply technician.

Me, Hal Kussick—Dentist

Sakhem—Managing Director of TLC


Samphaut—Dental Nurse/Dental School Student.

Daniel Rothenberg—photographer

Ly—Pilot in training and registrar.

A rare photo of Daniel C. Rothenberg leaving to document Sakhem conducting the village survey.

Ly, the former police chief of Kompong Khleang, home port of the TLC-1, and pilot intraining working as registrar.

In the end we saw 90+ dental patients; 8 expectant mothers, and trained two villagers in how to conduct our survey. They were beginning that survey when we left, and the TLC crew will pick up the results next week when they visit again.

Sakhem instructing (from left to right) local residents Pov and Aly, along with TLC midwife, Kim, in proper survey techniques.

The trip, we felt, was a great success. The TLC-1 proved herself up to the task. We learned a lot that will improve our operations in the future, and despite Jon’s “shortcut” back to Kompong Khleang, we survived and I’m planning my next volunteer stint for October.

Not working.

Hal Kussick, DDS

15 August, 2008

Snapshots by: Hal, Sakhem, Jon

Jon's shortcut.