I have already stayed in Siem Reap for three weeks. Since I left my home, I feel as though my horizons have widened and a feeling I thought had disappeared for a long time has reignited. Something I didn’t understand before, has now become a lot clearer.
I was lucky to join the Medical Misson this time. I had only read a few articles on the Internet about the Medical Mission activities. But I didn’t actually have the opportunity to understand it more. Through this experience and everything that I learned, the most important thing was “You can’t judge anything if you haven’t tried to understand it.”
Why I said that? The information I read on the Internet about the Medical Missions suggested that there was more harm than actual service to the patients. I read something like, “After the volunteers of the medical mission leave. The infection rate of the patients who had surgery is 20-30% and they often need to have surgery again.” After reading this, I held a doubtful attitude towards the Medical Mission. I couldn’t really understand why the risk was bigger than the service.
During the Medical Mission, I asked the Assistant director of my internship a lot of questions. By asking these questions, I began to better understand why they was a branch office located in the village. The organization aims to inform local citizens that they are always there for them. As long as they participated in the activities of the organization then they didn’t have to worry about any problems.
The organization also discusses what kinds of treatments are provided in the Medical Mission. Excessive surgeries aren’t conducted but basic treatment and examinations are. If the problem is too serious to treat then the assessment will be passed onto more capable and reliable medical institutions, instead of having a treatment with an outcome that they couldn’t be responsible for.
The article also mentions that a lot of medical personnel and volunteers only participate local service once (because of different issues, e.g. environmental… etc.) This does happen, but there are still many medical personnel and volunteers that really enjoy the Medical Mission. Some of these people are really involved!
Even if the article used the figures to tell us that the Medical Mission has a high infection rate. We still can find other ways to adhere to make the infection rate lower. We can’t forget the original intention of the service program which was to “Ensure the patients in the village have the opportunity to medical professionals when they have the need,” and thus keep the program running. The article didn’t mention this, so some people who don’t understand the Medical Mission would have a misunderstanding for this service program.
After joining this Medical Mission, I reminded myself that I couldn’t possibly understand the entire program by looking at a few sources of information. During these three weeks, I grew attached to my life overseas and really enjoyed the feeling.