Saturday, 24 April 2010

Keep on going

Now nearly two months in Cambodia and so much has happened in such a short time.
We have been for a week in Phnom Penh staying with Maureen and Gerald Harley and having some time to rest and sleeping in aircon,what is very nice after the hot temperatures in the village.
Maureen and Gerald are lovely people and we enjoy their company and great hospitality.
Henk is battling with cramps in his leg at night and wakes up to take medication to avoid spasms in his leg,so sleeping is not very restful.
I developed a sort of rash on the back of my hands and don't know what this is,but very itchy so now and then.
We have been working for Ruth Elliot who runs " Daughters",an organisation working with girls and boys rescued out of prostitution.
I have been teaching basic jewellery making skills and Henk has done some training in hospitality.
Ruth is opening a new cafe very soon and has already opened a beautiful gift shop with clothing, bags and fashion items and jewellery made by the girls.
The jewellery is the best seller and from next week the girls will use the skills learned this week to make jewellery for the shop.
I loved working with the girls,they are so creative and after showing them the techniques I let them work out their own designs and I loved the ways the girls worked together and it was such a blessing for me to see their zest for life and their joy in creating.

Just before we left Wat Opot to go to Phnom Penh little Ann Marie was brought to the community.
Her mother died of AIDS and Ann Marie is premature and looked very sick when she came.
We were all very worried for her, I have never seen such a small baby and in New Zealand she would be in an incubator with specialised care.
I fell in love with her from the moment I held her, she came wrapped in an old towel and a Cambodian scarf.
We prayed for her, I think many people did,and two days later Joe arrived, a volunteer from Zurich, Switzerland and he is a ICU nurse specialised in working with premature babies.
Joe looked after Ann Marie, weighed her, she weighed only 1600 grams, washed her and showed the care giver how to feed Ann Marie and look after her.
Ann Marie is a little fighter and she has gained 200 grams since we are in Phnom Penh.
I think God works miracles in the most unusual ways!

Saturday, 13 March 2010

Back in Cambodia

I am back in Cambodia and this time it feels so right and good to be back.
This is the place I mend to be this time in my life and the last few days in Phnom Penh Henk and I have met such helpful and good people.
I am sure these people are put on our way for a reason and to point us in the right direction.
Henk has not been very well the last few days with a bug picked up somewhere,but I hope this will only last for a few days.
We came through customs easy this time and with all our luggage.
Tuesday we will leave for Wat Opot in the Takeo province and we have a driver taking us by car with all our luggage,much easier then by tuk tuk.
Today we met this amazing man Gunther from Germany.
We were having a bit of lunch at a little cafe near the Mekong river and this older gentleman parked a dusty
Mercedes truck near us and also had a bit to eat.
We started talking to him and he told some of his stories,this man traveled together with his wife all over the world in his truck from Africa to Russia,Afghanistan to Australia and they did this for the last 20 years!
He gave us a map of all the places they went and next year he will go back to Germany and then his truck with the world map with all his travels will placed in the Mercedes car museum in Germany.
He gave us a map of his travels for us to keep.

We are back in Phnom Penh for a weekend after spending 2 weeks at Wat Opot,Takeo Province.
The first week I did a lot of cleaning and setting up the craft room again,motivation was a bit low when Henk and I arrived and not much was done in the last few months with making products for the craft shop or for orders.
The second week with help from volunteers most things were sorted and about two days ago I started making earrings with Sito, a lady living at Wat Opot and Screy Aun one of the girls.
Also on Wednesdays I am teaching jewellery making with some of the village girls and ladies and our first session went really well.
I showed how to make earrings with wire and teaching them to make the earring hooks as well.
Arun,the lady were we held the class had to send the ladies home,because no one wanted to leave,for them it was like a treasure cove with all the different beads,great fun!
Henk has been busy with setting up a little cafe,now don't expect a coffee machine and refrigerated display.
All very simple with a fridge for drinks and a very old stove to do the baking.
Coming week the cafe can open for only a few hours a day.
Also Henk bought two guitars and can teach the older boys some guitar playing and keyboard.
We had a bit of adjusting to do,the village is very hot and dusty,but luckily a great thunder storm overnight cleared the air and washed the dust of the trees.
We also needed adjusting to life at Wat Opot and the relationships between people and children.
Life can be tough here, little operations without local anaesthetics; Mark one of the volunteers cut his foot badly and needed stitches done.
The children's motivation towards going to school or doing chores around the place,adults not talking to each other because they had a argument.
But things get done and the community functions.
Henk and I trying to find our way and learning to take each day as it presents itself.
The children's clothing Wendy made I gave to the village children,because they have even less then the children at Wat Opot.
The children with mothers or aunties waited unknown to me for about an hour to come and receive the clothing and I felt so humble because each child was so happy with just one outfit. Thank you Wendy!
Tomorrow back to the village and my next post will be when we are back in Phnom Penh,if you read this blog and in any way want to support our work here,please contact me
I need craft wire for making jewellery and I can get this from Bangkok if needed.
Till next time

Sunday, 3 January 2010

A new year ahead!

The beginning of 2010!
Looking back and looking ahead, I could never have thought that 2009 would change my life around.
My travel to Cambodia and stay at Wat Opot in the Takeo province stretches beyond 2009 into 2010.
I spend only 5 weeks with the children and adults at Wat Opot,but they had such an impact on my life that Henk and I are going back in a few months to live and work in this amazing community.
We have quit our jobs, not an easy thing to do in this time of recession and we will put most of our our savings towards our travel and stay in Cambodia.
We will be working as volunteers so we have to sustain ourselves.
People around us say either that we are crazy or that they would like to have the guts to do such a thing themselves and admire us.
I don't think we are super brave or super crazy, maybe a little bit of both...I think sometimes in your life you come to a point where you know the time is just right and everything is pointing in one direction and things are falling into place as if it had to be that way.
I call it faith, someone else will call it destiny, but I believe we all have a Divine plan for our life.
The only thing that holds us back is fear and fear can be one or many little or big demons and the source of missing out on a lot of happiness and joy.
Little things can trickle into becoming big things; through an art exhibition I held at Stoddart Cottage in Diamond Harbour I met Fiona and this meeting was the beginning of my life changing travels to Cambodia.

Little ripples from the heart turn into big ripples extending out beyond our own imagination.
Last month I received a small savings piggy bank, full of ten cent coins saved over many weeks by someone who himself has not a lot of money to spare, but nevertheless liked to give to people less fortunate then himself.
This gift touched my heart, because I know that even the smallest gift is big enough to make a difference.

2010 will be a year of change and a year of faith and of living day by day and of letting the ripples of my life take me where ever I am meant to go.