Overall Rating:/ 10I volunteered with Love Volunteers in Cambodia with and their local partner on the medical program, and though I was only there for 2 weeks, that short time had such an incredible impact on me.
At the hospital, I was able to be placed in the Maternity Ward and was able to help wash the babies every morning, help give injections, and observe surgeries and surgical procedures. The people of Cambodia are probably the nicest, most welcoming people I have ever had the pleasure of interacting with. The NGO are incredibly helpful and accommodating and helped me plan weekend trips and sightseeing. They also made sure to accommodate my vegetarian diet, which was not easy in Cambodia, but they still did it. I met volunteers from all of the world and it was overall an incredible experience!
I do have to say there is a bit of a language barrier at the hospital, which is to be expected, but do not expect to understand exactly what is happening. The nurses and doctors really try to help you and make sure you understand, but sometimes there is only so much they can do. I still got so much out of the experience, but just realize that it will not be as easy to communicate as you might think. Also, most of the doctors study in France, so if you know French, you'll have no problems communicating.
I wish I could have stayed much longer than 2 weeks, and I'm already planning on going back! Love volunteers is an absolutely amazing organization, and Kelly specifically answered all of my questions, of which there were A LOT!! They made sure I was comfortable in my placement and checked in with me to make sure I had arrived and was settled. I was very nervous about doing a trip like this, but Love Volunteers really helped me and allayed all of my fears! They also make sure to work with sustainable NGO's who actually help the country and are committed to not JUST providing the volunteer with a feel-good experience, but enhancing sustainability in the community.
A typical work day looked like this: I would wake up around 6:30, eat breakfast and then walk to hospital at 7:40, about 20-25 minutes away on foot. I would help wash the newborn babies that were in the hospital and then observe some procedures or deliveries. Then I would help give injections, and then walk home around 12 or 1, depending. I would eat lunch at the guesthouse, then do some sightseeing or exploring; basically whatever I wanted! I would get home for dinner, or have it out, and hang out with the other volunteers. Sometimes they had movie nights, and sometimes we went out. Then bedtime, and do it all over again!
The local staff, specifically Sreng and Mey, were absolutely incredible and helped me plan weekend trips, sightseeing, and more. They made sure I knew how to get to my placement and felt safe, and organized tuk tuk rides for me when I needed them. They also accommodated by vegetarian diet, which isn't always easy in SE Asia. The Love Volunteers staff also helped me immensely and have a fantastic support system with a lot of people who really care about your experience. I can't say enough how much Kelly helped me and made me feel safe and supported!