With our regular newsletters, we aim to keep you posted on all the interesting and important news and updates of our programs and various activities. Enjoy reading!
Dear friends and partners,
Happy New Year’s everyone – we wish all of you a blessed and wondrous 2017. We started our new year with a trip up country to visit new families and ongoing families. What a lovely day it was. Heng, Srie and I traveled to Takeo to visit a new community of families. It was a day of enjoyment as Heng reveled in walking through the villages – it was day of comforting and a day of new hope – it was a day of celebrating it was a good way to start 2017.
We met with 67 year year old Mao and her neighbors – Mao was saving for pots and pans – at 67 - there were no pots and pans – she had just received her funds and she was excited.
We met with 43 year old Chantha – she wove mats of reeds – three years ago – her three daughters aged 14,11 and 9 developed a fever – 3 days later all three were dead. She started savings – she started to dare dream of a better life – I was struck had sad life can be – I was struck by the strength of the human spirit.
As we were walking, Heng stopped us to show his job during the Pol Pot years – the plants he needed to cut for fertilizer – the cow patties he need to collect – he was only 11 – his father, two brothers ad two sisters killed – he himself beaten half to death for taking a few grains of rice growing by the way side. This time there was no sadness – just a bemused rendition of the jobs he had to do and the life he lived.
We met 34 year old Neng her three children – she had already bought water jars and pots and pans. She was raising chickens but they had to be kept in the hut she lived in – Chinese New Year’s is coming up and chickens are very valuable – people were stealing chickens in their village so they needed to be hid.
We met 52 year old Po who was very sad – on the coldest day in December her 84 year old mother complained of chest pains and died. Po was feeling very guilty that she was not by her mother’s side when it happened – she was busy in the fields reaping her rice crop – I told her it wasn’t her fault – at 84 heart attacks were not uncommon – it wasn’t her fault. She had taken care of her mom for years and obviously love had been part of their relationship – there could be no greater gift.
We visited 49 year old Li who with her son and husband were making sugar from sugar palm trees. Every day they made and sold ten kilos of sugar. We were laughing and talking and ordered 30 kilos amongst us – Li turned with her wizened face and said, not now – In April when there the air is dry – now impurities from rain drops fell into the sap and the sugar was not as good. I paid for my ten kilos in advance – and the giggles turned into laughter as Srei and Heng told her not to show her husband the money. At 5 feet tall, Po retorted – I tell him one time only – I will hit him – and he does not bother me anymore.
We ended the day with visiting several families who are in the program for 5 years. Ton was so proud to show us his home – he held a broken sign from a Tabitha house building –three years ago – those materials now used as walls for a much bigger house and small restaurant. So much laughter and so much joy this day we had together - so much sadness and despair turning into hope and dreams of a better life.
I thank my God of His blessings in my life and I look forward to His blessings in 2017 – I thank my God for each of you who stand with people like Li, Ton, Po and so very many others. What a privilege we have in the lives of so many. Happy 2017 to each of you.
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