I’ve been home from my trip to Cambodia for a couple weeks now, but it feels like ages. It was such a long journey, and I was exhausted when I reached home, both physically and emotionally.

Being an introverted person, I am glad to be home. I LOVED my team and all the people I met, but I need to be alone sometimes. And in my time alone, I have reflected on my experiences there. I’d like to share a story of something I will never forget:

I’ll start by telling you that my heart’s passion is for mamas and their babies. My hope is to become a Certified Nurse Midwife in the future.

My last day of medical clinic in one of the Cambodian villages was difficult from the very beginning. I was physically and emotionally exhausted from the work we had done so far. But I kept breathing and pushing through. We saw many very sick people, even tiny babies barely living. Our whole team cried and grieved over the pain and darkness present in this place.

One of my patients was a young woman maybe about 22 or 23. She was small, thin, and wearing a worried expression. Her mother and husband joined her and spoke for her when I asked questions through a translator. They said she was dizzy, nauseous, and tired. I asked if she could be pregnant, and they said no because she had just given birth a few months ago and was still nursing. Her husband told the translator that all his wife does is cry and she doesn’t take good care of the baby. At this the young woman began to cry.

I knew immediately that the young woman had postpartum depression. This is real, common, and treatable in the U.S. But out here, we had no medications that could help this woman. I asked our pharmacy leader if there was anything at all that might help, and she said, “just pray.” So I asked the translator if the woman would allow me to pray with her. She nodded and I took her hands and prayed to Jesus for peace, protection, and strength for the woman and her family. I told her with all the sincerity in me that she is beautiful and a good mother, and the translator repeated it in Khmer. She continued to cry.

My heart was broken, but I have hope that God will help her and all of the people we couldn’t help at the time. And my passion for people grew in that moment.

Sometimes I am bitter and negative about our healthcare system and our American way of life, but this reminded me to be thankful for what we have here. And I’m thankful to have had these experiences in Cambodia that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.

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