Posted on 19 February 2012 by


The sun hot, the air still, and every corridor of the hospital a sea of noise.  Hundreds of sweating bodies young and old from miles around gather in long lines to be seen by American doctors in Koh Kong Feb 2, 2012.  At every station volunteers call loudly encouraging order, waving arms and using vibrant American humor.  Babies cry in fear for attention.  Middle-aged women cackle remarks in Khmer amongst each other and men become disgruntled with the wait, especially in the pharmacy.  Those extremely ill are eerily quiet.  Many surround the perimeter shaded by big hats sipping bright green iced sugar cane juice seeking relief from the scorching heat.

In front of the hospital my eyes meet with an elderly man sitting at the roots of a tree.  With open palms he reveals small bags of “miracle medicine” and signals for me to sit down.  He is smiling with one tooth remaining and says to me “81” as he points to his heart.  I am intrigued but I don’t speak Khmer or French and he speaks very little English so we are silent, smiling at each other on the grass.  He taps my knee and shows me, a yoga teacher, how to get into half lotus.  He seems impressed by my ability and I feel nurtured.   We close our eyes and become very silent.  I battle for a moment with my nerves wanting so bad to hear his story while he curiously peeks at me through one eye.   Finally I am there, the orbiting noise of the clinic and all the people become distant as we meditate together for a timeless moment.  We find peace within ourselves, and although we are strangers from different worlds, together we are one.

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