Teeth Medicine (Khmer:Tanam Tamang)

A few days ago, as I passed our street people, I bent down to talk to one of the babies. While pinching his cheeks (very Khmer of me) I noticed some bad sores on his legs. The mom asked me what we could do and I actually could answer her. That morning I had learned the word of toothpaste. Tanam tamang. Literally meaning medicine teeth. I was able to tell her that I will ask a doctor and get her some medicine for the boys legs.

Tonight I took him and his mother to the pharmacy on the street corner. The doctor was able to give him some medicine, tanam, and also teach her a little about hygiene. He later, in fantastic English, explained that because of there poor living conditions he contracted some skin infection. This mom and her one year old baby collect trash all day and sleep on the streets at night. The doctor showed her how to clean under his finger nails, taught her how germs are spread, and that by putting his fingers into his mouth germs get into his belly and make his skin sick. The mother was very willing to lean and it was interesting for me to watch her take in such basic information. Basic information to us, but not to them. The best part was that as people looked on in interest, at our relationship, they began to ask this street lady who I was. She kept putting her hand on my leg and telling them that I take care of their kids and that I help people. I know it is not much but after six months of walking by this little street community and trying my hardest to love on them, I felt like I was accepted as a friend. I am sure the funeral for her friend the weekend before helped, but I am grateful that our relationship has grown and will hopefully continue to grow over time.

While at the pharmacy a mother entered with a couple children. I thought she was just coming to visit the doctor, but she was coming to visit me. I think she was using the doctors English skills to communicate to me what I probably would not understand if she would have approached me outside. The lady is the wife of a tuktuk driver that works on our street. As I walked by him this morning on my way to get the kids he tried to ask me about our school. He knows where its at and what we do. Some mornings he is the one with the tuktuk full of kids, not his own but others, bringing them in to Sparrow’s Nest. I did not understand him this morning due to first my rushing to work and second because of my grogginess at 7:30am. This evening when he saw me walk around the corner and toward his wife, and the pharmacy, he called her on her cell phone and told her I was coming her way. I didn’t know this when the cell card seller in front of the pharmacy (his wife) came in to talk to me about her daughter.

She told me that she is classified as mentally retarded because of her lack of speech (do not know exactly what the disability is yet) and is not allowed to go to school. The mother continued to tell me that she loves art and wants to study. Unfortunately we do not have a specialist to help her with her disability, but we do have a safe place for her to go and learn, a place where she will not only be accepted, but loved and told about Jesus.

After we received the correct medicine for the boy and finished our conversation with our tuktuk drivers wife we headed home. After I parted ways with the family I passed our tuktuk driver. We then chatted and laughed about this mornings conversation. I then told him what time I will be by to get his daughter. He then laughed at me and told me he knows the routine. I am excited to meet and begin working with this family. Every morning, the man drives his tuktuk, filled with his family into the city. His wife sets up shop a block away and sells gas and cell cards and he sits in front of a hotel all day waiting for clients.

After a very long and rough day, I was encouraged by my interactions with people tonight. I believe in what Sparrow’s Nest is doing and I am happy to see my connections grow within the neighborhood I live. God has been faithful for these last six months and I know he will continue to be in these next six.

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