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!
February 22, 2017
Dear Friends and Partners,
This month I went on a site visit to meet our new families in Kompong Speu. What a lovely day it turned out to be. The weather was perfect, the rice harvest was in and the families were delighted to show us their pass books and their purchases.
Some had bought chickens – but I could see no chickens. Other had bought pigs but I could see no pigs. Where are your animals, I asked. And the chatter began – at 7 in the morning – we turn our animals loose – the pigs go into the fields to forage – they roam far and wide- the chickens roam the surrounding fields. I was a bit dumbfounded – how do you know your own pigs and chickens – the laughter increased at my ignorance - oh, they chortled – they come home when they are hungry – usually when the sun goes down. One wizened grandmother looked me in the eye – my pig sometimes stays out overnight – I think maybe he has a girlfriend.
So, I asked, how do you find the eggs from your chickens – clearly I was someone who was short of an education – the chickens come home – they are all hot and bothered – clucking and clearing a spot – and then they lay their egg. Consternation at my inability to grasp these natural events was a concern for each and everyone.
So – I asked – don’t people steal your pigs and chickens – are you not worried? Oh no, they responded – for the past year we have a security brigade in the village – residents who live in the village – and their task is to make sure that everyone behaves properly. Now we don’t worry any longer about thefts of chickens or pigs. We still worry about our cows though – they are still watched and brought into the house every evening. Unbelievable – how good it was to see their sense of well being and safety – something so lacking for so many years.
The decision was made to send the children out far and wide to find some pigs. While the children were running and looking – Heng, Srei and the chief stood talking under a tree – Heng bent over and pointed to a plant – this is what the people smoked during the Khmer Rouge years – the conversation became animated as Srie and the Chief showed me how the leaf was plucked and dried under a sleeping mat – how it was rolled – the old people still smoke these – said Srie - they taste better then the new cigarettes.
We left the village and travelled to farmers who had received ponds – There was a sense of joy and excitement – the pond was clear and provided good water. It changed their lives as they showed me their corn and watermelon. The woman of one house pointed proudly at her clean clothes. Life is so much better despite the fact her home was still of humble proportions. Hope and dreams were in the air.
How privileged I am to walk for a few hours with those whose lives are so harsh yet who appreciate so very much the small steps to a better life. I am so grateful to my God for that gift – so thankful for each of you who allow this life miracle to happen. How good that is.
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