Tuesday’s Travels #1

My friends in Prek Eng 5, children, houseparents and caretakers
My friends in Prek Eng 4, children, houseparents and caretakers

It is a little over four weeks until I am traveling to southeast Asia once again. On Tuesdays each week I am sharing my preparation and thoughts about this trip.When the trip actually starts I will share each day’s events in journal form for all who are interested in Cambodia and Asia’s Hope orphan homes.

And the family of Prek Eng 5, children and adults
And the family of Prek Eng 5, children and adults

I am very excited that I will get to see all the children I have come to know and love – it has been 18 months since my last trip! Many of them have done a great deal of growing up in that time. They are farther ahead in their schooling and better at speaking English. Thanks to Facebook, I have been able to see many pictures and have even had some internet calls from the families so I’m not totally in the dark about what has been going on. I am impressed with all the improvements that have been made to the campus in Prek Eng (suburb of Phnom Penh). They have planted gardens and harvested many fruits and vegetables. The latest project is raising chickens!

I finally got my letter written to last year’s financial donors in case they wanted to send money with me again this year. I know there will be some need that will be evident when I get there because I pray that it will be revealed and that the amount donated will be just right. I have been amazed every time to see that happen. But I know I should not be surprised, just joyful that I get to see it and have a part in what God intends to do.

We are gathering things to take with us for the medical portion of our trip and also gifts for the children. First on the list is prescription eyeglasses. The health clinic will be held in Phnom Penh this year and is an outreach to a particular community in need. Some living there need glasses but cannot afford them. We are able to test vision and supply glasses along with the routine health checks and counseling.

Gifts for the children include deflated soccer balls, simple jigsaw puzzles (100-250 pieces), yarn, card games, candy (no chocolate), badminton rackets and shuttlecocks, and girly things like headbands and barretts. I am also trying to take Rainbow looms and rubber bands since they were such a big hit the last time I went. It’s always a challenge to take things that don’t weigh much or take up a lot of room since we have restrictions on our luggage. I am always trying to think of things the children might like to do but don’t have access to where they live.

If you have ideas from past experience of games, crafts or toys that you think children would enjoy I would love to hear from you. Children range in age from 5 to 17. If you have prescription eyeglasses to donate please mail to Shirley Dietz, 5001 10th Lane E. Bradenton, FL 34203.

Getting ready is part of the fun of travel!

Can't wait to see them all again!
Can’t wait to see them all again!

Comfort Zones

I’ve been out of mine so long today that I’m forgetting what it is like to be in my comfort zone.  Loud, loud music that is not culturally familiar, much heat and little water, crowds of  people, very few of whom I can communicate with, and those I can understand I still can’t communicate with because of deafness  due to loud, loud music.  It seems that our mission team is very well organized but  somehow we English speakers are not understanding enough to prepare ourselves for each step as it comes,  (Or  could it be that God knows we would be resistant/scared/freaked out if we understood ahead of time. Yeah, that’s it.) 

We are always being asked for the unexpected.  What is the matter with us that we don’t expect to be asked to talk, lead, teach, play games, and do  physical exams on sick villagers? The excitement is building as I contemplate having to see  patients and dispense remedies, depending on an interpreter   to know what  problems I’m supposed to address… in the heat, in the dirt, under a tent, amidst confusion.  We are called on to be flexible and all we can do is proceed.  This may turn out well, it may turn out not so well, but either way it will only last about three hours tomorrow.  I’m just sayin’ I’m thankful for that and I think I can do it.