Things have been moving too fast to even explain. I feel like I’m constantly playing catch-up.
But I’ll try my hardest to remember everything as Katy Perry sings about Vegas in my ear (that’s for you Katie Acheson)
We left off in Phnom Pen. The city of…dirty streets… filthy water… the poorest people in the world… you know the quality things in life. And at first, this is all I believed Phnom Pen to be. And we were to spend 5 days there…
But after learning about the landmines that are ruining the country side for farmers, The Killing Fields that were basically the Holocaust for this country, Aziza’s Place that is using art to heal and grow (Katie, I found you a place to work when you come live here), meeting SOMALY MAM one of the most incredible women in the UNIVERSE and meeting the women who she is rescuing, understanding how HAGAR is reaching out and accepting the hardest of human conditions… I think Phnom Pen isn’t so bad.
We also got to visit the waste pickers of the dumps in Phnom Pen and went to CSARO which is providing health care and schooling for the children of these sites. And they are children. We’re talking 3 to 12 year olds who pick through trash trying to find recyclables for their families to earn about 50 cents per child. They usually don’t have that many clothes on or shoes. We saw many examples of that in the children at CSARO, kids with white scars all over their brown little frail bodies. Many of them were sleepy because they were so malnourished. Unfortunately, they are a source of income and after our time with them, they shortly returned to the dump.
By far one of the greatest people we met was Sue with HAGAR. She opened our eyes to the extremely marginalized in Cambodia including those who are mentally disabled and Vietnamese. HAGAR is also more concerned with healing a person entirely from their trauma and getting them back on their feet. But they will also take as long as possible. They are by far one of the most thorough NGO’s we’ve been to. The best part was not only the food the restaurant produces but also when Sue explained Popeye moments to us. When Popeye sees Olive Oyl facing injustice he says “That’s it. I just can’t takes it no more,” pops open a can of spinach and kicks ass. As she left she reminded us, “Keep your eye out for Popeye, you never know where he’s gonna be.”
God’s heart is in Cambodia. God is in the Buddhist Temple, He’s in the scars and wounds on children, He’s in the dirty streets filled with durian and feces, He’s in the hotel rooms where women lose a little bit of themselves every night. More than anything He’s in the smiles of the broken hearted, He’s in the homes filled with love, He’s in the children who run naked into the water, He’s in Aziza’s Place and HAGAR and CSARO and Somaly Mam’s home. And I feel Him now, as I sit here waiting for time to bring me back to comfort and my normal life. With my nose plugged and suitcase packed, He keeps breaking my heart for the people who He loves.