Friday, April 30, 2010

Typhoid and Malaria pills. Bleh!

On Wednesday, I went down to the state health department to get pills to prevent Typhoid Fever while in Cambodia. These pills work by taking a total of four of them every other day in a period of a week. Pretty simple. However, side-effects are the worst part of the whole experience. For me, they include: tiredness, cough, sore throat (a huge pain), AJ's allergies acting up, grogginess, and nausea. I've skipped out on the worst part of nausea by taking the pills at night before going to sleep. It's quite a tedious process because we have to take it at the same time every other day.  If we miss a dose, we have to start all over again, so we're trying really hard to avoid that.

As for Malaria pills, we are supposed to begin taking pills 2-5 days before entering the endemic area. What I've heard so far is that these pills are only useful in protecting us in rural areas, which we won't be in so much. We'll be mainly in the capital, Phnom Penh, hence the dilemma of whether or not to take them. As a public health major, I understand the value of prevention over treatment, but if I'm not going to an endemic area... Side effects: yeast infection, sun sensitivity, nausea, stomach pain, and possible "vivid dreams and visual disturbances." I'll think about it.

The other set of vaccinations recommended on the U.S. Travel website list for Cambodia is Japanese Encephalitis.  Again, this is mainly encountered in rural areas.  Another draw back is the cost.  These shots are at least $450-1,100!!

I also got three months worth of nerve pain meds.  Yes...that was quite a lot out out of my budget for meds.  At least I have health covered.  Let's hope there will be minimal health complications in country.  I'm getting pretty nervous yet excited at the same time. Wish me luck!!!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


One day, my little 6-year old sister, Holly, called me with sounds of sadness and tears in her voice. I wasn't sure what was going on because the last time she called me like this was when she realized she was leaving me in Utah and heading back to Cali. So I asked her what had happened. She said, "Martina, I lost the $15 you gave me for my school shirts. I left them in the room yesterday and now I can't find it anywhere." I told her to calm down because it's only money, it'll show up somewhere. No worries. But then she said, "Martina, I'm not responsible, when am I ever going to be responsible?" She was so upset that she kept losing things, and she went down the list of everything she lost already. I told her it's ok, because one day when she can remember things on her own and not lose things anymore, that's when she'll know she's responsible. But I was just proud of her realizing this was a problem and for wanting to improve herself.

But one thing I learned from this experience was the importance of instilling in young people the value of learning and practicing responsibility at a young age. This would help out families so much more if parents learned to be responsible with things such as budgeting and caring and listening their children with lots of love. It would also contribute to society if people took on the responsibility of being courteous and kind to others. And even our country if people obliged themselves to listening to current events, policy plans, society issues and how to implement change, and exercised their rights to vote properly. I think there are little things that we can do, that would make such a huge difference-Sponsability that each and everyone of us should bear.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Headed to Cambodia

This summer, I decided to take on a new kind of challenge. I'll be going on a public health internship to Cambodia to research and provide service. We will be working with two organizations, Reproductive and Child Health Alliance (RACHA) and Pillows for Peace. RACHA focuses on serving maternal and child health by providing and improving prenatal care, vaccinations, prevention and control against infectious diseases, nutrition, etc. Pillows for Peace is a program based out of Israel, that educates people on microfinance and gives people of this war-torn country the opportunity to finally build their own homes.

I chose Cambodia because I've always wanted to see the country my parents come from and see the places I heard them talking about growing up. Whenever they told us stories, they would reminisce with such fondness of the good times they had with their families even through those really difficult times of poverty, hunger, fear, and stress. It was hard to grasp as a child the things they went through during that period of genocide of their people, but I'm hoping this internship will provide me with the opportunity to get a better glimpse of that.

I have been quite nervous and worried about this internship because of a few different reasons, each related to my wheelchair circumstance like getting up several flights of stairs everyday at RACHA, accommodations at my host family's, getting around town, traveling, etc. It's sort of scary to think about. After I read this quote,

"If we will be prayerful, seeking wisdom from God, who is the source of all true wisdom,
we shall be blessed as God has promised.
Our Father has made explicit covenants with His people.
He is in a position to keep those covenants.
We have nothing to fear if we stay on the Lord's side."
-President Gordon B. Hinckley

I realized He has been with me every step of the way and I've done my best to be faithful and do as I feel prompted to. I feel that things have fallen into place over time and that this internship was something that He brought into my path. Therefore, if I put my trust in the Lord and align my will with His, He will bless me and things will work out hopefully better than I expect it to. It'll be a challenge, but I'm confident things will turn out fine especially since my boyfriend and friends will be there. 

We just got our tickets to Cambodia and here we are with our passports in hand. Adventure awaits us in Southeast Asia and I'm looking forward to lots of them, both mundane and spectacular.  I'm excited for the things I'll get to learn and experience this summer. I can't wait to see the ancient Angkor Wat, visit my extended family, eat tropical fruits and delicious traditional cuisines, further my language skills, and meet new people. This is will be the adventure of a lifetime!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Spring break with children

My little siblings, Anthony and Holly got to come up from Cali and spend their break with me. I loved it! I felt really like a mom: planning my schedule around them to make the most time with them, getting food to feed them, planning activities to do for them, etc. It was a lot of fun. They spent a lot of time with AJ's family and got really close to them. Mom and dad miss Holly's little feet running back and forth everywhere. We hope they can come play here this summer.

Some of the things we were able to do with them included:

  • Going out for a pizza buffet at Pizza Pie Cafe
  • Taking them to fun classes like floral design
  • Making easter eggs and having an easter egg hunt
  • Going out for some fresh air at the park
  • Making easter decorations out of paper 
  • Playing tons of board games (Monopoly, Candy Land, Pretty Pretty Prince, Connect Four)
(sorry no photos because I forgot)

One of my favorite activities with them was going and seeing a late night showing of Alice in Wonderland in 3D. It was one Holly was talking about way before she came here. I had my doubts prior but it turned out to be so awesome! Holly loved it! It was a very creative and fun movie. The storyline was also entertaining to follow. Exploring new worlds is a lot of fun, just make sure you choose the right one. And you just can't say no to pop corn and fulfilling a child's wish.

I had a great time while they were here. I will definitely miss late night family gaming and slumber parties. It was hectic, but I know it is definitely a blessing to have them in my life. I love being able to see them grow and learn new things. I guess that is the blessing of having children. I can't wait to have my own someday, although it may drive me crazy! and definitely can't wait til I see my siblings again in May!