Outside of the walls of the CSC building lies a peaceful, yet busy, courtyard. The courtyard serves a multitude of important functions for patients and their families, as well as the CSC staff. It is both a place of fun and a place of rest.
At the very centre of the courtyard is a small simple swing set. On my way to lunch, I often see and hear the laughter of children playing there with their parents. Sometimes the children are patients of CSC, as evident by the bandages and casts on their limbs, or the dark shaded glasses to protect their eyes. Other times it’s the little brothers and sisters of patients who are resting on the wards. Seeing the smiles of the children enjoying the swing set on a sunny day brings an element of fun and playfulness to the CSC courtyard; it is a much-needed place where children get to be children.
Lying down on the benches surrounding the swing set and the edge of the courtyard are the parents of the young patients of CSC, as well as many of the adult patients. For them, the courtyard serves as a place of rest and reprieve. Some patients and their families travel from far away regions of Cambodia and wait at CSC for days to be seen. Other patients have already received treatment and are waiting to recover enough so that they can make the long journey home. For all of them, the shaded areas of the courtyard offer a place away from the wards to sit and socialise with one another.
For the staff, the small vendors within the courtyard provide a valuable source of snacks and refreshments. My favourite snacks which I’ve enjoyed from the courtyard have included the fresh corn on the cob and the large bag of peanuts which a local surgical trainee bought to share with me. Enjoying food together in the courtyard with patients and their families alike brings a real sense of community to the grounds of CSC.