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In the last few weeks I completed 2 more trips out on the Tonle Sap Lake in Cambodia with The Lake Clinic. On these trips we provided medical, dental, midwife services, and vaccinations.

Since several of the villages we visited were new to us—we now serve a total of seven—there was quite a bit of work to be done.
Sambun, our Khmer physician was seeing up to 100 patients a day, Ya, our midwife was busy as well; and I had one morning where I extracted 30 teeth. Additionally, we had a government health worker along who provided vaccinations.
For much of the time, I was the only English speaker on the boat, and likely the only one within 75 miles of our location. Often on these trips, I’ll pause, and be in slight disbelief that I’m really in such a unique setting or situation, especially as an urbane westerner. It might be that I’ll be seeing patients with half of the village (their neighbors) watching you work; or lined up to see you next., while you’re soaking in sweat.
Other times it’s seeing a spectacular sunset over a deserted part of the lake from the TLC-1’s flying bridge. Sometimes it’s simply observing their unique lifestyle.
Every time out on the lake, I see something I hadn’t seen before. I also get to experience a pace of life, which seems to no longer be part of modern culture. Now if I could just get used to the taste of Cambodian fish sauce.

Hal Kussick, DDS
December 2009