My Cambodia Experience

I am so excited to announce that our domestic conferences are back! With vaccines being rolled out globally, hope is in the horizon for the return of international travel and events soon.

After a very successful Hamilton island conference this week, myself and the team plan to shortly announce details of several domestic land-based conferences. When some certainty returns to international travel, I will also be providing details on our future cruises and international land-based events.

As some of you may know, I have been stranded in Cambodia since March 2020 due to Covid 19 travel restrictions and being unable to secure flights back to Australia. Following 11 months in Siem Reap and Phnom Penh, I have recently found myself and my two teenage sons a temporary home on the beautiful island of Koh Rong Samloem in a little village called M’Pai Bai.

One of the first things I noticed when arriving in this stunning little village is the community spirit. Both the Khmer and Westerner’s (also known as the “Barang”) work closely together like one big happy family. It’s hard not to immediately fall in love with the place when you instantly are welcomed with open arms.

Getting to know the community has been a real eye opener for me and one of the best things I’ve seen here is their medical centre. The story of how it became is very humbling and as nurses and midwives, I would like to share it with you all too.

M’Pai Bai is a sleepy Khmer fishing village of around 300 Khmers and 40 Westerner’s that have made this stunning island their home. Back in 2013 they only had 2 wells for water, no electricity and was serviced a supply boat taking 4 hours to reach the mainland.

The community’s healthcare at the time came from the only dive centre on the island and their ‘medical cabinet’. The instructors were trained in Emergency first response and did their best to help in any medical situation. The need for a health facility for the local community was immediately clear.

One of the divers, a western businessman Rob Povey wanted to solve this problem and in collaboration with the village Chief, Mr Thay, the “M’Pai Bay Community Health Centre” was born with UK Charity Rainbow Collections Children’s Foundation. The community would come together to provide fund raising to build, supply and set up a Heath Post, and the village chief would provide a plot of land for the building. Even better is that there would never be any charges for rent, electricity or water.

Everyone got involved with the fundraising displaying collection tins, creating events, and engaging friends from all over the globe to request support. There were events from London to Canada. This initial support helped buy the villages first AED (automatic external defibrillator).

Quarterly visits were started by an outreach Nurse from the Dept of Health Sihanoukville to provide regular vaccinations. However, before the building was completed, they had to dispense from a poly box on the beach!

Koh Rong Samloem is a remote island, making progress of the build a little slow at start especially when rainy season kicked in for them. I have learned this phrase is fondly referred to as ‘Cambodian time’. However, with the fantastic support of volunteers, and the kind donations from everyone, the first ever Medical Centre of M’Pai Bai was finally born.

I have been lucky enough to have a little tour of the building. It has a doctor’s room, accommodation for the Khmer nurse, community space out front for events and even a little Boutique shop to continue to raise funds. I find it hard to imagine the space was once an empty plot of sand and rubble.

The clinic now is used for so many amazing things. There is a breakfast club for the local kids where they are taught about cleaning their teeth and hands properly. Not only that but the project has extended to volunteering vet clinics who come and vaccinate and desex the animals in the village.

In my next instalment, you will meet Tim Seel, a volunteer UK nurse whose heart was stolen by Cambodia just like mine.

I can’t wait to see you all soon, watch this space for my new events coming up.

Much Love
Jason

I am so excited to announce that our domestic conferences are back! With vaccines being rolled out globally, hope is in the horizon for the return of international travel and events soon.

After a very successful Hamilton island conference this week, myself and the team plan to shortly announce details of several domestic land-based conferences. When some certainty returns to international travel, I will also be providing details on our future cruises and international land-based events.

As some of you may know, I have been stranded in Cambodia since March 2020 due to Covid 19 travel restrictions and being unable to secure flights back to Australia. Following 11 months in Siem Reap and Phnom Penh, I have recently found myself and my two teenage sons a temporary home on the beautiful island of Koh Rong Samloem in a little village called M’Pai Bai.

One of the first things I noticed when arriving in this stunning little village is the community spirit. Both the Khmer and Westerner’s (also known as the “Barang”) work closely together like one big happy family. It’s hard not to immediately fall in love with the place when you instantly are welcomed with open arms.

Getting to know the community has been a real eye opener for me and one of the best things I’ve seen here is their medical centre. The story of how it became is very humbling and as nurses and midwives, I would like to share it with you all too.

M’Pai Bai is a sleepy Khmer fishing village of around 300 Khmers and 40 Westerner’s that have made this stunning island their home. Back in 2013 they only had 2 wells for water, no electricity and was serviced a supply boat taking 4 hours to reach the mainland.

The community’s healthcare at the time came from the only dive centre on the island and their ‘medical cabinet’. The instructors were trained in Emergency first response and did their best to help in any medical situation. The need for a health facility for the local community was immediately clear.

One of the divers, a western businessman Rob Povey wanted to solve this problem and in collaboration with the village Chief, Mr Thay, the “M’Pai Bay Community Health Centre” was born with UK Charity Rainbow Collections Children’s Foundation. The community would come together to provide fund raising to build, supply and set up a Heath Post, and the village chief would provide a plot of land for the building. Even better is that there would never be any charges for rent, electricity or water.

Everyone got involved with the fundraising displaying collection tins, creating events, and engaging friends from all over the globe to request support. There were events from London to Canada. This initial support helped buy the villages first AED (automatic external defibrillator).

Quarterly visits were started by an outreach Nurse from the Dept of Health Sihanoukville to provide regular vaccinations. However, before the building was completed, they had to dispense from a poly box on the beach!

Koh Rong Samloem is a remote island, making progress of the build a little slow at start especially when rainy season kicked in for them. I have learned this phrase is fondly referred to as ‘Cambodian time’. However, with the fantastic support of volunteers, and the kind donations from everyone, the first ever Medical Centre of M’Pai Bai was finally born.

I have been lucky enough to have a little tour of the building. It has a doctor’s room, accommodation for the Khmer nurse, community space out front for events and even a little Boutique shop to continue to raise funds. I find it hard to imagine the space was once an empty plot of sand and rubble.

The clinic now is used for so many amazing things. There is a breakfast club for the local kids where they are taught about cleaning their teeth and hands properly. Not only that but the project has extended to volunteering vet clinics who come and vaccinate and desex the animals in the village.

In my next instalment, you will meet Tim Seel, a volunteer UK nurse whose heart was stolen by Cambodia just like mine.

I can’t wait to see you all soon, watch this space for my new events coming up.

Much Love
Jason

A few pictures from our stay