Blog Home

Medical Teams Blog: Stories of boldly breaking barriers to health

Sign up to receive the blog directly to your email inbox

Sak's Story: A Cambodian mother

by User Not Found | Jul 01, 2016

Sak was desperate as she listened to her child’s labored breathing and raspy coughs. She was overwhelmed – and feared the worst for little Lysa.

After a three-hour journey from her small Cambodian village of Thama, Sak arrived in the town of Siem Reap only to find everything closed for an unexpected holiday - the country’s king was visiting the town that very day, and nothing was open.Sak-cambodia-health

She was so afraid for her child. What if the hospital was closed, too? Sak had borrowed money for the expensive taxi ride and hospital bills, and she left behind a farm that needed tending.

She couldn’t afford to simply come back another day, and she did not know if her daughter would survive the delay. When she arrived at the hospital it looked closed and she feared the worst. She pounded on the doors and began screaming- she thought they were alone, and she was so afraid and so frustrated. She cried out and prayed: “Help my daughter!”

As it turned it, doctors were there. They heard her cries and could treat her daughter.

Borrowing more money and sinking deeper into debt, Sak spent the next month going back and forth between her home and the hospital. It was so expensive, but she had no choice if she wanted to keep her daughter alive. Finally, after a month, she received good news: her daughter was healthy again. Lysa returned home weak and exhausted – but alive.

Sak recalls the terrifying experience of almost losing Lysa to a preventable and treatable illness: “I cried a lot during that time.” This time, Lysa was one of the lucky ones.

Although Lysa survived, her mother still felt powerless and afraid. She knew that without preventative care, death and disease were very real threats for her family. She never wanted to relive this nightmare again.

That’s when Sak learned about Medical Teams International. She heard about the classes she could take to learn about hygiene, nutrition, and illness prevention. Enrolling in this program helped Sake feel empowered to take care of her children. Relief and happiness replaced her anxiety, and her two children have gained weight and are healthy. Sak smiles, as she explains how Medical Team’s International’s classes and child growth monitoring will leave lasting results: “In the future, when this activity is finished, I can do this by myself.”

It's because of your support that we are able to provide these lifesaving educational programs to Sak and other mothers like her. On behalf of Sak and Lysa, thank you for your generous support.