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[Myanmar] Reflections on the past 6 months
up 2021.08.25

I participated in this long-term volunteer program as a gastrointestinal surgeon.

Initially, I had planned to come to Cambodia after the scourge of COVID-19 had lifted, but I instead came this January with the knowledge that the current situation was worse because of labor shortages.

My first six months in Cambodia was eventful due to such things as the Cambodia’s first COVID-19 lockdown, the suspension of surgeries, the closure of the wards and the resumptions of surgeries.
During that time, I witnessed the hard work and effort of Dr Kojiro and all the Japanese staff by my side and I was truly bowled over.

I can’t thank you enough for your hard work in this tropical climate and I hope that you will continue to take care of yourselves.

At the same time, I was very impressed by the excellence and generosity of the Cambodian staff.
Sometimes they are ridiculed for wanting to take a break, but I think they are wise enough to pursue a peaceful and happy life rather than live with wrinkles on their brows and worn out nerves.
Of course, strictness is necessary in medicine, but perhaps the Japanese are a little too uptight.

半年間を振り返って ジャパンハート 医師

Because of my age, I am in a position to pass on my skills and knowledge to young Cambodian doctors, and I was impressed by their high level of talent and sharpness.
I soon realised that if I said something inadequate, they would see right through me and so I had no choice but to tell them everything that I could.

In reality, however, I think I learned more from the Cambodians than they did from me.
I was also soothed by their generosity and kindness. I believe that there are still some important things left in Cambodia that we Japanese have forgotten as a result of our extreme pursuit of cleanliness and accuracy.

半年間を振り返って ジャパンハート 医師

What is also noteworthy is the richness and beauty of Cambodia’s nature.
Some people say that if you start to love nature, it is a sign that you have become an old man, but the nature in Cambodia is unconditionally beautiful.
Life is abound and vibrant in the vivid primary colours of the landscape. Even a gloomy morning can be refreshed by the lush trees and abundant birdsong.
Of course, there are threats from nature, such as thunderstorms and floods.
It makes me feel that us humans are not that special and that we are living just like the other creatures around us.

I would like to express my gratitude to the staff of Japan Heart for all of their help and support during this short stay.

I would also like to apologise and pray to those poor souls who I was not able to help during my time there.

I plan to continue the cycle of working in Hokkaido (Kitami Miyake Clinic) for six months and volunteering in Cambodia for the remaining six months.
Last, but not least, I would like to thank Miyake Clinic for giving me such a happy time, and my wife for following me to Cambodia.

Thank you very much.

半年間を振り返って ジャパンハート 医師

Long-term Volunteer Doctor, Matsunaga