The HVC team that served in Kathmandu has a blog! Follow the rest of their stories at https://fromlondontokathmandu.wordpress.com/
Here's a post by one of our GSI, Becca Budgett about Day 6 of the programme.
Today, after spending the morning at the a hope school, about half of us squeezed into a van alongside 30 blankets and travelled high into the hills surrounding the Kathmandu valley to deliver the blankets to a community that had been badly hit by the earthquakes earlier this year.
8 months after the earthquakes, many families in this community are still living in temporary shacks made of sheets of corrugated metal and pieces of cloth. Although most of the rubble had been cleared away, you could still see evidence of the destruction in the standing houses. Many had cracks in their walls and you could also see where landslides had fallen down the sides of the hills. Although the conditions these families are living in are awful, there was something beautiful about the sense of community amongst the people living there. A communal dining space had been erected from colourful pieces of cloth attached to poles of wood and members of the community sat and ate together whilst music rang out from a boom box.
We distributed about half of the blankets to those living in these tin shacks before venturing up the hillside to where these people had lived previous to the earthquake. These houses were built of crumbly, red terracotta with a tin roof held down by stones. The narrow pathways between the houses were extremely dusty and steep, many covered in rubble. As we climbed higher into the community we distributed blankets to those who needed them.
At the very top of the hill we reached where the home of one women used to stand. You could still see the ruins of her house, next to which HOPE had built a temporary house for her which looked somewhat like an Anderson shelter. HOPE has built around 50 of these temporary shelters in the area. They only cost around £13 to build. This women told us how her 16 year old daughter had been killed in the earthquake and now she lives alone.
I can only imagine the sheer terror this woman, and others living in the community, must have felt when the earthquakes hit. They live in such precarious houses on top of a steep and slippery hill and with no way of running to safety they would have had to stay in their houses whilst they fell down around them. Not only did they have to live through that fear, they then had to deal with the pain of their own family members and friends dying.
I found visiting this community incredibly moving. Especially when one volunteer took off her shoes and another took off her coat to give to this women who was only wearing flip flops and a thin dress despite the freezing temperatures
It’s so easy to sit at home in the UK and watch earthquake footage on TV but not really understand what it is these people are going through. They already live in poverty and then they lose what little possessions they have. They work hard and sacrifice to bring up children who are then killed. And even if their house still stands after the earthquake, many people sleep out on the streets for weeks after the quake because they are scared that their house will collapse.
The team at Sonja Kill Memorial Hospital recently celebrated its 5 year anniversary. SKMH opened in April 2012 with the mission to meet the needs of poor children and women of Southern Cambodia. It is managed by HOPE worldwide . Since its opening, nearly 50,000 patients have been touched by the team. On May 26, the hospital honored 31 employees who have served since the hospital’s opening day. Through the dedication of its staff and supporters, SKMH has seen tremendous growth. Since its opening, the hospital has accomplished the following:
· More than 140,000 patient consultations with nearly 50,000 new patients
· 71% of visits have been for women and children
· Nearly 800 children have been born at the hospital since the opening of the Maternity building in November 2014
· 7 Cambodian doctors have graduated from three year hospital training program.
· Currently employs over 180 people
· The Neo Natal Intensive care unit opened November 2015. To date the NICU has served 49 children
· Centralized Medical Gas System for NICU and campus opened in November 2016.
· Surgical department opened in 2015
· Surgical team has performed over 360 surgeries in 2016, not including C-Sections. 86 surgeries have been for children
· Blood bank opened in August 2016
· A Learning Center for children of hospital staff opened on June 12
Sonja Kill Memorial Hospital has been blessed with international support from medical and administrative partners as well as volunteers from around the world to serve and teach. The local Cambodian staff continues to grow and serves as the primary patient care providers.
The team is grateful for all the support that has been given this past five years; however, there remains more to do. Future development includes the addition of a CT scan, upgraded X-ray diagnostic equipment, continued development of staff training programming and pursuit of international accreditations. Please consider how you can make a difference at the Sonja Kill Memorial Hospital. Go to https://www.hopeww.org/donate . Use the drop down box and select Sonja Kill Memorial Hospital. If you wish to learn more about the Sonja Kill Memorial Hospital, please visit www.skmh.org .
Dr. Rin Receiving the Empathy Amplified AwardClick here to watch .
Jenny Harkabus spent Christmas serving in the Philippines. She wrote this, and also made a short video:
I did not imagine that I would be spending Christmas in the Philippines for my first HOPE Youth Corps experience. This opportunity has deeply changed my perspective on the importance of service in my daily walk.
We are created in God's image, therefore we are meant to help and serve others. I know this to be true because I have never felt so used by God and fulfilled, than the times spent serving and pouring out my love in the Philippines.
James 1:27 says, " Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." Some translations refer to this as true religion. The bible also stresses the importance of giving to the poor (1 John 3:17, Matt 9:21, Proverbs 14:31). God considers caring for the poor and orphans as true religion, yet this can be an area of faith that is overlooked.
I was privileged to spend time with girls who have experienced trauma and abuse at the HOPE worldwide center in Laguna. Many of these girls have been separated from their families, becoming orphans, as a result of the abuse they have experienced. I also received the opportunity to play with children within the community as we rebuilt their homes and provided them with medical care. I witnessed the children’s precious value for human relationships, as they clung to me emotionally and physically. They showed me instant love and respect, which I find to be rare in today’s society. Our focus should be about investing in others just as the children in the Philippines invested in me.