April 2014

Dear friends and partners,

April has been a time of celebration – celebrating Khmer New Years - celebrating Easter – celebrating my birthday. With the celebrations we had good friends join us for a few days. As we talked of our respective work we ended up discussing health problems in our respective countries. We talked of how suffering is common to all people – where the differences are is the matter of choice. Andrew shared a story of a youngster only four years old who almost lost his leg because of a boil that went untreated. The boy’s parents took the choice not to care. Andrew took the choice to care and in the end saved the boy’s leg and his life.

We talked about the difference between a first world country where choice and options are considered to be rights – something that is taken for granted – choices that can result in good or evil – but the sanctity of that choice. Then we talked of developing countries – we talked of Cambodia where choice is not a right – it is not an option – where illness does not mean a choice for good or evil – where the illness itself determines the life of a person.  


Nokor Tep Women’s hospital is all about giving the choice to the women of Cambodia who suffer from gynecological issues and women’s cancers. At the moment – for over 85% of the women – choice is not an option – the disease determines their future - the disease determines their quality of life. You and I, like Andrew, have also made a choice – to alleviate and grant the right to choose to millions of women here in Cambodia.

It is not an easy choice – building a hospital – putting women first - treating cancer – in a developing country - this is not a common phenomena – there are so many rationalities for not doing so – women first? – You are kidding - gynecological issues – rather taboo is it not- cost of cancer treatment for the poorest – count the cost.

Counting the cost – it is really quite simple – the cost of suffering way beyond anything we can imagine – the loss of daughters, wives and mothers – how great is that cost. Andrew chose to save the life of a 4 year old – we have chosen to save the lives and the quality of life for literally millions of Cambodian women.

Counting the cost – it costs 6.8 million USD to just build the hospital building itself. You and I are constantly working in so many ways to make that happen. The foundation of Nokor Tep is almost complete – just 6 more caps to finish – the work site is being cleaned and lean concrete being poured - at the other end of the site re-bar and forms are being prepared so that we can begin to pour the basement floor and the retaining wall. How good that is.


And our efforts continue – on May 13 – the Young Ambassadors from Brigham Young are putting on a benefit concert – Songs of the Heart – a Broadway version of Glee – Bruce, Sam, Dan and Steve are busy organizing the 3rd annual 1000 kilometer Ridethon to be held in Cambodia in August – in Singapore – the untiring women are doing so many events such as Bubbles and Bling – in Melbourne the women hold dinners and it goes on and on. So many events – so many of you – making the choice to make the difference for the women here.

April has been and still is a month of celebration – a month of making choices – how good that is! I thank my God for that privilege – I thank my God for each of you.


Stories of Cambodian Women


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