Last Day in Phnom Penh

I don’t know what day it is anymore. Maybe Thursday. Today we went early to help with an outreach in one of the slum areas, of which there are many. The university dorm students are in charge of this endeavor and they do a great job. They are friends with a few older children who are given invitations to pass out in their neighborhoods. All the children arrived this morning at what is called a soccer field, but is really a rare empty lot with indoor/outdoor carpeting on a cement slab.

Slum outreach: Kids watch a skit of the story of David and Goliath (Goliath has just been slain and is lying on the ground.)
Slum outreach: Kids watch a skit of the story of David and Goliath (Goliath has just been slain and is lying on the ground.)
Attempting to bring some order by lining up...
Attempting to bring some order by lining up…

There were over 200 children, mostly small, perhaps 10 and younger, in all stages of dress/undress running around when we arrived. I smiled and bent down to greet a few of them and that was all it took to set off a stampede. I had children practically jumping into my arms, climbing up my legs and holding onto my hands. To say they are friendly is an understatement. I could not imagine anyone being able to bring order to this chaos. There were a few mothers present but most children were unaccompanied.

The students lined up along one side of the lot and one with a bull horn began talking to the children, telling them to line up. They were soon in about ten lines listening intently. The singing began and they responded loudly and enthusiastically. This was not the first time for many of them so they knew the songs and the routine. They listened to a skit about David and Goliath which was pretty hysterical – the college students have a lot of fun doing this. Our team supervised a game called “four corners” which turned into a free for all. None of the children understood the rules but they loved running back and forth from one corner to the other. We couldn’t get any of them to sit down and quit when they were out.

We finished by giving each child a packet of school supplies and a small loaf of bread. This whole experience was such a great example of community, giving time and attention to people who don’t often get it. It was Cambodians having a heart for Cambodians and inspiring it was to see.

All the neighborhood children holding up their gifts of school supplies
All the neighborhood children holding up their gifts of school supplies

After lunch at Daughters of Cambodia Sugar and Spice, we went to Asia Hope for our last visit to the our sponsored homes there. This was the day I gave all the girls the jewelry craft that was donated by one of my friends. They loved doing this and soon were wearing the rings, pins, earrings, bracelets and necklaces they had made. They are very interested in looking like young ladies and having special things to wear. The ninja ball craft was repeated for PE5 home with possibly even more mess than we created at PE4 home. Flour and balloons everywhere, everywhere…

Good thing it was just flour...
Good thing it was just flour…
All the girls and ladies have jewelry to wear after this craft session.
All the girls and ladies have jewelry to wear after this craft session.
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The kids made sidewalk art with chalk at their home

We are again thankful to be safely at the guest house after a productive and fun day. Long, our trusty tuk tuk driver, made a BIG mistake and took the bumpy way home through miles and miles of road construction and we will probably not stop teasing him about it for a long time. One more thing to remember about our days in Phnom Penh. Tomorrow we leave for Kep, the resort where we will have retreats for the dorm students first, then the Asia Hope children.

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