Thursday, February 26, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day - Community Center

2/14/09 - Saturday

As we arrive at the CC, there is a long line of people waiting for a bag of rice. Scott continuously hands out rice vouchers to many families around the garbage dump. So my hands are needed to bag 10kg of rice. A few of us join a couple of the staff and begin to fill and weigh bags of rice. The line is long and the process is slow. Instead of signatures, they use finger prints, realizing these people don't know how to sign their name. I have no idea how long I'm in there sweating and bagging rice but all is good. These people are starving and I'm grateful I could help in some small way. The line dwindles and we come back outside. The children all have name tags today. Sure enough the little one from the first day sees me again and comes running over with a twinkle in her eyes. I reach down and scoop her up and once again our hearts and smiles connect. I say Ben Srey Ny doing my best to pronounce her name. Her sweet little voice corrects me on the pronunciation of Ben, Scott even gives it a try and Srey Ny (as I learned is her first name) attempts once again to teach us her last name, Ben as her voice gets stronger. Scott and I give it another shot - he smiles and says it's a sound us westerners never could say. Today is an extra special day because I find out Srey Ny doesn't have a sponsor and I decide to sponsor her. My heart is filled with a huge amount of joy and love. The sponsorship program is $100 a month. CCF will keep me updated monthly on her health and school until she is able to read and write. I then will communicate with her directly. I could come visit her at anytime. That sounds somewhat funny - Cambodia being halfway around the world but my love for SE Asia and Srey Ny will definitely bring me back here. A tiny, tiny portion the money we raised bought new outfits and shoes for each of the children at the CC. The distribution of these outfits was absolutely crazy but so well worth it. I helped a few children get dressed - many couldn't take their clothes off fast enough. The excitement and joy was truly a blessing to witness. The smiles they shared (amongst each other) as they checked each other out was priceless. I doubt if these children ever had new clothes before and many probably never wore shoes. A couple of children were waiting to be interviewed and watched with such sadness in their eyes. My heart broke but also filled with hope knowing if they are accepted into the CC their daily life can change. There was a huge pizza party. I'm not sure if the children ate being filled with such excitement over their new outfits. The afternoon ended with the children and staff singing to us. It were the best melodies I have ever heard. I had a couple of hours free before dinner and Leadership Training and took a dip in the pool to cool me off slightly from the hot and steamy weather here.

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